- FTSE 100 trading at lowest level since October 11th
- Taper in focus ahead of Fed decision on Wednesday
- Mining stocks weigh on upside after China data
techMARK 2,664.73 +0.04%
FTSE 100 6,437.51 -0.04%
FTSE 250 15,237.35 +0.03%
UK markets opened more or less flat on Monday morning, holding at a two-month low, as caution set in ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting and the Christmas holidays.
Mining stocks were capping gains for London's benchmark index early on after the release of worse-than-expected manufacturing figures from China.
The FTSE 100 was little changed from its close of 6,439.96 on Friday, its worst finish since October 10th.
Global indices had a poor showing last week - the Footsie in particular lost 1.7% - as risk appetite declined ahead of a possible reduction of stimulus by the Fed this week. A budget deal in the US, although ending years of fiscal uncertainty and spending battles in Washington, added to bets that the central bank will begin to taper its asset purchase programme when its policy meeting concludes on Wednesday.
"With a decent string of data out of the US recently, notably from the labour market, and an easing of the fiscal situation due to the latest budget deal in Washington, the Fed have a bolder case to taper," said Ishaq Siddiqi, Market Strategist at ETX Capital.
"Traders in that case, would rather stay on the sidelines ahead of the policy meeting in case of any surprises."
Also moving markets is the release of a HSBC/Markit report that showed Chinese manufacturing activity eased in December. A flash reading of purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 50.5 from 50.8 in November, missing the 50.9 estimate. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
Looking ahead to the rest of today's macro-economic agenda, markets will be watching for the release of Eurozone manufacturing and services figures, US industrial and manufacturing production and US existing home sales.
Aggreko jumps, miners fall
Temporary power group Aggreko said it now expects full-year results to be slightly higher than previous expectations, causing shares
to jump early on. Recently shares in the generator hire specialist slumped on concern it would issue a profit warning as it struggles with the weaker dollar, mixed trading at its two main divisions and a dearth of recent contract, impacting trading in 2014.
Mining stocks were largely out of favour this morning as risk appetite declined after the disappointing data out from top metals consumer China. A sea of red across commodities markets was also pressuring miners lower, with Anglo American, Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, Randgold Resources, Rio Tinto and Glencore Xstrata among the worst performers.
RSA Insurance fell, extending losses after a heavy sell-off on Friday after a profit warning and the surprise exit of its Chief Executive Simon Lee. According to the Financial Times this morning, Chairman Martin Scicluna is to hold "urgent talks" this week with rating agencies in an attempt to avert a credit ratings downgrade.
Digital sports media firm Perform Group was a high riser as it continues to recover following a sell-off last week following a profit warning.
Healthcare outsourcing group Synergy Health impressed investors after winning a total of six new contracts in the Americas, adding £230m to its order book.
RPC Group rose after acquiring personal care, healthcare and food packaging business Maynard & Harris (M&H) for £103.5m.
Media and events company UBM declined despite saying said it expects full-year trading to be in line with expectations after fourth-quarter trading came in as anticipated.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aggreko (AGK) 1,614.00p +6.46%
Rexam (REX) 486.90p +1.67%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 326.70p +1.49%
CRH (CRH) 1,434.00p +1.06%
Mondi (MNDI) 917.50p +1.05%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,294.00p +0.84%
Kingfisher (KGF) 366.90p +0.82%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,608.00p +0.70%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,143.00p +0.54%
BP (BP.) 468.10p +0.52%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 89.90p -2.81%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,252.50p -1.34%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 450.60p -1.21%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 752.50p -1.12%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,920.00p -1.11%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,285.00p -1.00%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,125.00p -0.97%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,742.00p -0.88%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 832.00p -0.83%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 994.50p -0.65%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Perform Group (PER) 224.20p +4.28%
Synthomer (SYNT) 235.80p +3.29%
RPC Group (RPC) 546.00p +3.02%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 175.00p +2.88%
Synergy Health (SYR) 1,062.00p +2.81%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 48.50p +2.69%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 19.63p +2.61%
Carillion (CLLN) 309.60p +2.41%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 175.00p +2.16%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,811.00p +2.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
UBM (UBM) 650.00p -3.70%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 294.10p -2.81%
Diploma (DPLM) 698.50p -2.65%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 1,322.00p -2.44%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 323.80p -1.55%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 123.20p -1.44%
888 Holdings (888) 163.00p -1.39%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 740.00p -1.33%
JPMorgan American Inv Trust (JAM) 1,164.00p -1.19%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 714.00p -1.18%