- Aberdeen, Lloyds, easyJet, Whitbread hit by downgrades
- US stock futures point to another sell-off
- Carney hints at scrapping forward guidance
techMARK 2,800.83 -0.95%
FTSE 100 6,697.93 -1.11%
FTSE 250 15,732.15 -1.55%
UK markets were trading down over one per cent by Friday lunchtime with a number of heavyweight stocks being pressured lower by broker downgrades.
Blue chips Aberdeen, Lloyds, easyJet and Whitbread were all providing a drag on the top-tier index after analysts lowered their ratings for the stocks.
After treading water a eight-month highs earlier in the week, the FTSE 100 in London has been sold off ahead of the weekend and was 1.1% lower at just under 6,700 by midday. It has not closed below this level since January 9th.
Stock futures in the States pointing to a similarly bearish start on Wall Street later on as US indices pick up from where they left off after a sell-off on Thursday which sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a five-week low. Weakness on Asian markets overnight also dampened sentiment this morning in the UK.
Investors were still reacting to data yesterday which showed that the manufacturing sector in China had slipped into contraction in January, while a barrage of economic indicators from the States came in mixed.
"Traders are asking themselves if Thursday's negativity was simply a bit of a shake-out or the start of a more extensive move lower," said Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst from IG.
Markets were also digesting comments made by Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney who signalled at the World Economic Forum in Davos that his forward guidance plan - which links monetary policy to the unemployment rate - could be scrapped.
Following the sharp drop in the jobless rate registered earlier this week which fell from 7.4% to 7.1% in the three months to November, Carney said that the UK economy was "in a different place" from where it was last summer. However, he stressed that the BoE still does not intend to tighten policy "immediately".
Markets are now awaiting a speech from the central banker later today to outline his plans fully.
Aberdeen, Lloyds, easyJet, Whitbread hit by downgrades
Fund manager Aberdeen fell sharply this morning after receiving a ratings downgrade by Morgan Stanley to 'underweight'. The bank said that a deteriorating fund performance compounds challenging emerging-market fundamentals, "increasing the risk of negative revisions and further multiple de-rating at Aberdeen".
Investec has cut its rating for Lloyds Banking Group from 'buy' to 'hold', saying that expectations for 2013 are still "slightly frothy", causing the stock to slip this morning.
Budget airline easyJet continued to fall after its first-quarter update yesterday in which it said that losses in the first half would be worse than last year. HSBC lowered its rating on the company today to 'underweight'.
Cafe, restaurant and hotel owner Whitbread was also down after Citigroup cut the stock to 'neutral', citing limited upside after a strong rally over recent months.
Royal Mail was unwanted after underwhelming with a 2% rise in like-for-like revenue for the nine months ended December 29th. Head of Trading Joe Rundle from ETX Capital called the update "in line but an unexciting read on the whole".
Cairn Energy, the oil and gas group, fell after informing investors that it was contacted by the Income Tax Department of India to discuss income tax assessments for the year ending March 31st 2007.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,281.00p +2.22%
Fresnillo (FRES) 796.50p +2.12%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,698.00p +0.77%
BP (BP.) 490.00p +0.38%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 100.10p +0.35%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 353.60p +0.34%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 974.00p +0.10%
SSE (SSE) 1,321.00p +0.08%
Centrica (CNA) 320.90p +0.06%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,030.00p +0.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 398.50p -5.43%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 410.90p -3.86%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,622.00p -3.11%
Mondi (MNDI) 949.50p -3.01%
Experian (EXPN) 1,092.00p -2.85%
SABMiller (SAB) 2,900.00p -2.62%
Pearson (PSON) 1,160.00p -2.60%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,276.00p -2.60%
Prudential (PRU) 1,277.00p -2.52%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 779.50p -2.44%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Devro (DVO) 312.20p +2.36%
Ted Baker (TED) 2,124.00p +0.95%
Berendsen (BRSN) 928.00p +0.81%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,178.00p +0.60%
Pennon Group (PNN) 687.00p +0.44%
Britvic (BVIC) 695.50p +0.36%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 223.10p +0.31%
Polymetal International (POLY) 587.50p +0.26%
F&C Commercial Property Trust Ltd. (FCPT) 124.90p +0.24%
Regus (RGU) 218.20p +0.23%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,190.00p -7.05%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 182.80p -5.29%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 342.80p -5.20%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 327.30p -4.85%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 154.80p -4.80%
IP Group (IPO) 167.00p -4.57%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 250.80p -4.31%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 281.50p -4.25%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 323.00p -4.15%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 519.50p -4.15%