An ongoing government shutdown Stateside continued to weigh on market sentiment on Monday with London's FTSE 100 registering losses in morning trade.
US 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.
The US Treasury could forestall a "technical default" easily enough even past the October 17th deadline, some analysts seem to be suggesting on Monday morning, but only by re-prioritising expenditures, which would result in a further significant fiscal drag.
House Speaker John Boehner has rejected the proposal to raise the debt limit without setting preconditions, sparking falls across equity markets over Europe this morning. The Treasury has already said that it will exhaust measures to avoid going over the borrowing limit by October 17th.
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.
Financial Trader David White from Spreadex said that "risk assets are likely to keep hurting the longer this goes on, perhaps presenting an opportunity to those who doubt the reality of a US default."
"The FTSE 100 struggles to hold 6,400 as traders look to rebalance against downside risk this morning. A lot of what has performed strongly over the past three months within the index is experiencing an element of mean reversion, allowing investors a chance to participate at lower prices. But the feeling at present is one of nerves, making putting money to work easier said than done."
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.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce was among the few stocks making gains this morning 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.
Smirnoff and Captain Morgan owner Diageo was lower after Citigroup said it expects a "soft quarter" for the spirits industry across the board. Nevertheless, the bank kept its 'buy' rating saying that growth should improve in the coming quarters and the company is the best positioned in the emerging markets for the long term.
Part-nationalised banking groups Lloyds and RBS were heavy fallers this morning along with Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered.
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) 931.00p +1.92%
William Hill (WMH) 413.40p +1.37%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,121.00p +0.54%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,064.00p +0.28%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 481.60p -2.51%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,600.00p -1.72%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,465.50p -1.71%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 73.67p -1.66%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,238.00p -1.58%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,968.50p -1.38%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,063.00p -1.30%
CRH (CRH) 1,464.00p -1.28%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,643.00p -1.27%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,281.00p -1.23%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 118.90p +2.15%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 330.00p +1.85%
UK Commercial Property Trust (UKCM) 75.25p +1.69%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 254.90p +1.55%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,858.00p +1.20%
Grainger (GRI) 176.50p +1.15%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,256.00p +1.13%
NMC Health (NMC) 330.00p +1.07%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 315.10p +1.03%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,936.00p +1.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cranswick (CWK) 1,100.00p -4.01%
Serco Group (SRP) 511.00p -3.31%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 289.60p -3.27%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,030.00p -2.28%
Synergy Health (SYR) 1,043.00p -2.16%
esure Group (ESUR) 231.50p -2.11%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,026.00p -2.10%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 98.00p -2.10%
Victrex (VCT) 1,540.00p -1.91%
Essentra (ESNT) 729.00p -1.88%