Markets started the new week on a dull note with the FTSE 100 dropping sharply on Monday morning in light of the ongoing government shutdown Stateside.
US stock futures were also heading in the same direction ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street given that an absence of economic data from across the globe leaves investors to focus on the budget impasse in Washington.
Lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on either the budget or the debt-ceiling over the weekend, heightening fears that the US could run out of the money it needs to pay its debts later this month. House Speaker John Boehner rejected the proposal to raise the debt limit without setting preconditions.
The Treasury has already said that it will exhaust measures to avoid going over the borrowing limit by October 17th. Some analysts have suggested that the Treasury could forestall a "technical default" easily enough even past the deadline, but only by re-prioritising expenditures which would result in a further significant fiscal drag.
While Boehner and the Republicans continue to demand changes to President Barack Obama's flagship health-care bill, the Affordable Care Act, Obama has reiterated that he will not negotiate and has said that Congress should not use the budget and debt ceiling issues as leverage.
Senior Sales Trader Nick Dale-Lace from CMC Markets said: "The Republicans won't come to the table without concessions on healthcare and President Obama has made it very clear that there will not be any such concessions. So while default seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago, it appears to the outsider that something drastic will need to happen to avoid a scenario dubbed 'worse than Lehman's'.
"Drawing on historical comparisons, a fracturing within one of the party's seems the most plausible catalyst, so who might blink first and decide they are not comfortable with being accountable for such grave economic consequences?"
FTSE 100: M&S weakens after broker comments
High Street department store Marks & Spencer was trading in the red after Credit Suisse retained its 'underperform' rating, saying that full-year forecasts "look demanding" after a weak first-half. The bank said the shares
- trading at a 20% premium to the long-term average - look "overbought" after a 30% rise so far this year.
Shares in British luxury brand Burberry were also under heavy selling pressure this morning after its Chief Executive Officer Angela Ahrendts told French newspaper Les Echos that the slowdown in China may be more than temporary; in fact, it could be the new reality.
Precious metals group Fresnillo was among the few risers after UBS raised its rating for the stock from 'neutral' to 'buy', saying the recent weakness provides a buying opportunity. The stock has fallen by 30% since the end of August.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce was also higher after receiving an order from Japan Airlines to deliver its Trent XWB engines for a new fleet of 31 Airbus A350s. Rolls-Royce also announced that it was awarded two contracts worth a combined $496m to support T56 engines for US government aircraft.
Pay-TV and broadband firm BSkyB rose after analysts at Nomura said Sky "should have the ability to cope" with the impact that BT Sport has had on the broadband market. They highlighted that the auction of Champions League rights is now critical for the business.
Smirnoff and Captain Morgan owner Diageo was lower after Citigroup said it expects a "soft quarter" for the spirits industry across the board.
FTSE 250: Cranswick falls after first-half update
UK food producer Cranswick fell despite a 15% increase in total sales in the first half, as it warned that pig prices reached a record high during the period. The firm said that the extent of and time-lag involved in recovering these higher input costs, along with the start-up costs of its pastry business, will mean that first-half operating profits will be flat year-on-year.
Petra Diamonds rose after saying it remains on track to meet its production guidance of three million carats of diamonds for fiscal year 2014 following a strong production rate in the fiscal first quarter.
Ladbrokes was lower after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the bookmaker to 'neutral' and trimmed its target price from 235p to 175p.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 925.50p +1.31%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,066.00p +0.47%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,024.50p +0.38%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,118.00p +0.27%
William Hill (WMH) 408.80p +0.25%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,220.00p +0.23%
ITV (ITV) 178.90p +0.22%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 879.50p +0.17%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 323.70p +0.15%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 390.10p +0.08%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 476.90p -3.46%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,258.00p -3.01%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 686.00p -2.69%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,050.00p -2.51%
Kingfisher (KGF) 359.90p -2.47%
BAE Systems (BA.) 445.00p -1.94%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 73.54p -1.83%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,464.50p -1.78%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,655.00p -1.78%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,599.00p -1.78%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Rank Group (RNK) 158.00p +3.95%
Alent (ALNT) 334.80p +3.02%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 118.40p +1.72%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 39.91p +1.40%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 424.90p +0.95%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,928.00p +0.82%
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM) 74.55p +0.74%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 2,236.00p +0.49%
Countrywide (CWD) 550.50p +0.46%
BH Global Ltd. GBP
Shares (BHGG) 1,170.00p +0.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 285.80p -4.54%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,095.00p -4.45%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,130.00p -3.91%
Serco Group (SRP) 510.00p -3.50%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,018.00p -3.42%
Betfair Group (BET) 984.00p -2.86%
Diploma (DPLM) 605.00p -2.81%
esure Group (ESUR) 230.00p -2.75%
Perform Group (PER) 533.50p -2.65%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 702.50p -2.63%