Mining stocks are weighing down the Footsie in early trade after weak Chinese trade data was released on Friday morning.
Chinese exports grew 1.0% from a year earlier in July, which is not the sort of growth the market has become used to; economists had plumped for a growth rate of 8.6%.
Imports, meanwhile, grew less expected. The year-on-year rise was 4.7% versus market expectations of a 7.2% rise.
The trade surplus narrowed from $31.7bn in June to $25.1bn in July.
Closer to home, France's Constitutional Council gave the go head yesterday to the European Union's (EU) "fiscal pact" after determining that the country's constitution would not have to be changed in order to comply with the agreement.
The fiscal pact - which seeks to tighten deficit limits and control spending - must be passed by 12 of the 17 Eurozone member countries in order to come into force in January.
Barclays goes for City grandee
Scandal-hit bank Barclays is to appoint City veteran Sir David Walker as its new Chairman. Walker will join the board on September 1st before replacing the outgoing Chairman, Marcus Agius, in November.
Walker has served as Chairman of Morgan Stanley International and Deputy Chairman of Lloyds Bank, but also has experience in government as Assistant Secretary to the Treasury and Executive Director of the Bank of England. His time as a regulator will be crucial for Barclays to rebuild trust after the agonies of the LIBOR debacle which saw the departure of the ultra-high profile Chief Executive, Bob Diamond.
Sector peer Standard Chartered, embroiled in an entirely different scandal to Barclays, is under a little pressure as ratings agency Fitch is making noises about reviewing the bank's AA- credit rating.
There has been speculation that the UK bank is pondering legal action against the New York State Department of Financial Services , which broke ranks from other US regulators to make some serious accusations about the behaviour of Standard Chartered Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Chartered.
There is an expression in the USA: "You can't fight City Hall." Much the same applies to picking a fight with regulators, and investors are concerned that Standard Chartered will get involved in a war with US authorities which it cannot expect to win.
Cobham, the defence technology supplier, has been awarded a contract to supply electronic systems to Boeing's Wideband Global SATCOM satellite programme. The $65m contract is for the production of three satellite flight sets, with additional options for three more sets.
Reinforced polymer technology firm Fenner has announced its third acquisition of the month, and once again it has returned to Norway to make a deal. Fenner subsidiary Fenner Norway has exchanged contracts to purchase 100% of the share capital of Mandals, a privately owned group of companies based in Norway and Sweden. Mandals is a manufacturer of innovative lay-flat and speciality hoses for use in demanding applications and of circular looms for the manufacture of the woven fabric used in the production of hoses.
Private equity investor SVG Capital boasted of strong returns in uncertain markets in the first half of 2012, as it comfortably outpaced gains on its benchmark index. The group saw a 12.3% increase in net assets per share to 378.5p (excluding SVG Advisers and SVG Investment Managers), showing a clean pair of heels to the FTSE All-Share Total Return index, which rose 3.35 over the same period.
More turbulence ahead for airlines
Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, has warned that is has experienced another 'very challenging' year, with the forward booking visibility remaining 'extremely limited'. Looking ahead, the firm expects total year-on-year growth for the year ended March 31st to be between flat and 2.0%, below its previous expectations. The stock has lost altitude rapidly, dragging easyJet lower with it.
Oil and gas company Gulf Keystone is wanted after it reached a 'major milestone' by submitting a declaration of commercial discovery for the Shaikan Block in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,840.00p +2.23%
Hammerson (HMSO) 468.30p +0.93%
Compass Group (CPG) 710.00p +0.92%
Barclays (BARC) 180.60p +0.92%
British Land Co (BLND) 547.50p +0.83%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,679.00p +0.60%
Schroders (SDR) 1,401.00p +0.57%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 808.00p +0.56%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 218.20p +0.55%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 670.50p +0.45%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,131.00p -3.08%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 973.50p -1.72%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 737.00p -1.60%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,185.00p -1.03%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 575.00p -1.03%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 422.70p -1.01%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 352.70p -0.98%
Evraz (EVR) 270.70p -0.88%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,351.00p -0.88%
IMI (IMI) 892.00p -0.83%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 37.01p +3.29%
Rank Group (RNK) 123.00p +2.50%
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,154.00p +2.21%
Ruspetro (RPO) 156.40p +1.56%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 589.00p +1.55%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 592.00p +1.54%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 287.20p -3.14%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 147.20p -1.87%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 193.20p -1.83%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 103.00p -1.72%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 443.00p -1.71%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 266.50p -1.70%
Dialight (DIA) 1,077.00p -1.64%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 300.10p -1.61%
easyJet (EZJ) 548.50p -1.53%