- Banks fall after Deutsche Bank Q4 loss
- US markets closed for MLK Jr day
- Chinese data points to slowdown
techMARK 2,857.04 +0.21%
FTSE 100 6,828.28 -0.01%
FTSE 250 16,219.04 +0.20%
UK equities opened more or less flat on Monday on what is set to be a quiet day with Wall Street closed later on for Martin Luther King Jr Day.
"Not only will this mean lower trading volumes as traders take an extended weekend, it also means there will be fewer catalysts as there will be no economic releases or corporate earnings from the US today," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Nevertheless, markets were still under pressure early on after a raft of data from China signalled that growth had slowed down towards the end of last year.
Weakness among banking stocks was also limiting upside in London this morning as the FTSE 100 opened flat after hitting a fresh eight-month high of 6,829.30 on Friday - its best closing level since May 22nd 2013.
Markets across Europe were in the red this morning after German heavyweight Deutsche Bank unveiled a surprise loss for the fourth quarter, reporting a "nasty set of numbers which have geared investors here in Europe for what could be an ugly earnings season for European banks", said Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.
Slowdown in China
Asian markets were broadly lower overnight after data showed that Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a year-on-year rate of 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013, slightly ahead of the 7.6% growth expected but down from 7.8% the previous quarter.
That means that GDP growth levelled out to 7.7% during 2013 as a whole, the same as 2012. Economists, however, predict a further slowdown in 2014 to 7.4% which will represent China's slowest rate of expansion since 1990.
In other economic data, the annual pace of Chinese industrial production growth also eased in December to 9.7%, from 10% previously and below forecasts. Retail sales growth, meanwhile, slowed to 13.6% from 13.7%, though this was in line with expectations.
Banks under pressure
RBS was among the worst performers early on after analysts at JPMorgan Cazenove downgraded the stock to 'underweight'.
Sentiment among banks was also dampened this morning by a fourth-quarter report from Deutsche Bank - released 10 days earlier than expected -which revealed a pre-tax loss of €1.153bn. The bank said that litigation costs and restructuring weighed on results, as well as a sharp fall in fixed income revenue.
Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Standard Chartered were also in the red.
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was also lower after agreeing to sell its stake in the Wheatstone liquefied natural gas project in Western Australia for nearly $1.4bn in an effort to improve capital efficiency. This comes after the company disappointed investors with a big profit warning on Friday.
Others in the resources sector, such as mining peers Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, were also unwanted as markets reacted to the latest figures from top metals consumer China.
Diageo and SABMiller were on the rise as M&A activity continues to pick up in the global drinks industry. Just a few days after whisky maker Beam was bought for $16bn by Suntory, it was announced that AB InBev is buying back South Korean brewer Oriental Brewery for $5.8bn.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,212.00p +3.51%
Fresnillo (FRES) 748.50p +2.25%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 1,002.00p +1.31%
Next (NXT) 6,225.00p +1.30%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 850.50p +1.25%
Amec (AMEC) 1,058.00p +1.24%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 311.80p +1.17%
ITV (ITV) 205.30p +1.03%
Pearson (PSON) 1,293.00p +1.02%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,502.00p +1.01%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barclays (BARC) 284.20p -1.52%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 359.70p -1.10%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,152.50p -1.01%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,259.50p -0.88%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,355.00p -0.83%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 840.00p -0.77%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 673.40p -0.63%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 901.00p -0.61%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 83.02p -0.60%
British Land Co (BLND) 660.00p -0.60%
FTSE 250 - Risers
NMC Health (NMC) 484.90p +3.59%
Polymetal International (POLY) 554.50p +2.88%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,017.00p +2.42%
Perform Group (PER) 251.00p +2.20%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 200.80p +1.98%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 639.00p +1.83%
Bodycote (BOY) 720.50p +1.62%
Genesis Emerging Markets Fund Ltd Ptg NPV (GSS) 503.00p +1.39%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,021.00p +1.39%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 461.20p +1.36%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 2,336.00p -2.22%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 122.20p -1.85%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 178.30p -1.82%
Evraz (EVR) 102.20p -1.73%
FirstGroup (FGP) 138.80p -1.70%
ICAP (IAP) 446.30p -1.33%
Spectris (SXS) 2,387.00p -1.08%
Premier Oil (PMO) 284.80p -1.04%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 4,671.00p -1.02%
Genus (GNS) 1,397.00p -0.99%