Markets were trading in negative territory on Thursday morning as investors gave a subdued reaction to in-line growth figures from the UK and awaited more economic data from the US.
The second and final revision of UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the second quarter held steady at 0.7%. Marcus Bullus, Trading Director at MB Capital said that while few had expected a revision, "markets were still largely underwhelmed by the 'steady-as-she-goes' growth" given that the data was largely priced in.
Eyes now turn to US second-quarter GDP due out later this afternoon with the consensus forecast looking for an upwards revision to annualised growth of 2.6% from the previous estimate of 2.5%.
David Madden, Market Analyst at IG, said that traders across Europe are sitting on the fence" ahead of the US data.
"Equity markets have been sliding since the Federal Reserve decided to keep its quantitative easing scheme unchanged last week. Since tapering was postponed last week, any positive news for the economy will be viewed as negative news for the equity market," he said.
Jobless claims figures from the States will also be in focus today given that an improvement in the labour market remains a deciding factor in the decision on whether or not to cut stimulus. Markets are expecting a rise to 325,000 claims for the week ended September 20th from 309,000 the week before, though it should be noted that the prior week's figure was distorted by IT issues in some regions.
Wall Street benchmarks ended Wednesday's session slightly lower with the S&P 500
finishing in the red for the fifth straight day - its longest losing streak this year - as investors continued to view US budget negotiations in Washington with caution.
Markets are hoping that politicians can agree on a extension to the current debt-ceiling limit of $16.7tn ahead of the deadline on October 1st to avoid an government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins.
FTSE 100: Electricity stocks continue to fall
British Gas owner Centrica and utility group SSE were extending losses after yesterday's proposal by Labour leader Ed Miliband to freeze energy bills if the party is voted back into power in 2015.
Banking and financial stocks were also providing a drag, with Barclays, Aviva and RBS among the worst performers. Insurer Admiral however was bucking the trend, registering decent gains by midday.
Tour operator TUI Travel jumped after hiking its profit guidance for the full year on the back of a strong summer season and early bookings for the winter.
Tullow Oil also rose after announcing a new oil discovery in Northern Kenya. The group said results of drilling, wireline logs and samples of reservoir fluid indicate a potential net oil pay in the Auwerwer and Upper Lokone sandstone reservoirs of between 60 and 100 metres.
Compass Group edged higher after saying expectations for the full year were unchanged with organic revenues set to have risen by just over 4% and profit margins to have grown slightly.
FTSE 250: Ladbrokes warns on digital profits
Ladbrokes slumped after warning that 2013 profits for its digital operations would come in a long way below current market forecasts. It said it expected 2013 Digital operating profits to be between £10m and £14m compared with a market consensus of about £27.5m. Numis and Canaccord Geunity downgraded their ratings for the stock this morning.
Tour operator Thomas Cook also fell sharply after reporting a decline in bookings in the UK over summer and flat sales in Europe. In a trading update ahead of the company's full-year 2013 results in November, the group said UK bookings were down 3% on last year with a capacity reduction of 2.5%.
Iron ore producer Ferrexpo was a high riser after Macquarie upgraded its rating on the stock to 'neutral' and lifted its target price from 155p to 180p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 363.30p +1.94%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,993.00p +1.91%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,252.00p +1.87%
BAE Systems (BA.) 467.60p +1.37%
G4S (GFS) 251.70p +1.29%
Compass Group (CPG) 840.00p +1.20%
William Hill (WMH) 408.90p +1.09%
National Grid (NG.) 745.00p +1.02%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,133.00p +0.98%
Schroders (SDR) 2,594.00p +0.82%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Centrica (CNA) 367.60p -2.13%
Barclays (BARC) 267.55p -2.00%
SSE (SSE) 1,462.00p -1.81%
Aviva (AV.) 403.40p -1.47%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 367.70p -1.34%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,558.00p -1.24%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,055.00p -1.22%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,095.00p -1.08%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,451.00p -1.05%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,506.00p -0.99%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Man Group (EMG) 85.55p +2.39%
Polymetal International (POLY) 677.50p +2.34%
Xaar (XAR) 793.50p +2.19%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 46.54p +2.17%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 586.00p +2.09%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.87 +2.06%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 181.00p +2.03%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 162.10p +2.01%
Carpetright (CPR) 670.00p +1.98%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 547.50p +1.96%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Soco International (SIA) 393.50p -8.49%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 177.50p -5.64%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 147.70p -5.08%
Playtech (PTEC) 717.00p -3.56%
ICAP (IAP) 375.00p -3.45%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 417.10p -2.71%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 331.70p -2.27%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 286.50p -2.19%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 311.80p -2.07%
Victrex (VCT) 1,603.00p -2.02%