- Chinese PMI drops, but stimulus hopes increase
- US data in focus ahead of Fed meeting
- Eyes turn to ECB conference
Stock markets across Europe opened moderately higher on Monday morning as some gloomy data from China spurred hopes that the country would join the list of nations who are expected to act to stimulate economic activity.
Nevertheless, today is likely to be relatively quiet on the markets due to the Labour Day holiday in the US.
According to a monthly survey by HSBC, the China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped from 49.3 in July to 47.6 in August, its lowest reading since March 2009. The news follows the official PMI data from last week which fell to a nine-month low of 49.2. Any figure below 50 indicates a contraction.
However, said market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said this morning: "Despite the sharp drop, the falls have raised expectations of additional easing measures by the People's Bank of China in the next week or so."
Following on from last week's climax of the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's closely watched speech at the Jackson Hole symposium, markets widely believe that further quantitative easing (QE) is now on the cards for the central bank's next meeting on September 13th and 14th. However, investors will be keeping a close eye on payrolls and manufacturing data due out this week as any decent figures could ease the Fed's concerns about the economy, delaying (or even preventing) any action.
Meanwhile, as analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari explains this morning, the focus on markets now shifts from one central bank to another, the European Central Bank (ECB). "Last month Mario Draghi [ECB President] hinted that the ECB is about to restart a programme of government bond purchases. Since Draghi's original comments, details of the programme have been leaked out in the media. This has led people to believe that it will be unveiled at the press conference on Thursday."
Miners dominate the risers early on
Nine out of the top 10 risers were from the mining sector in the opening hour as stimulus hopes helped the outlook for the demand of commodities. Evraz, Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Rangold were among the best performers.
Several stocks were being moved by broker ratings changes this morning. Chip group ARM Holdings was a heavy faller on the FTSE 100 after Deutsche Bank downgraded its recommendation to 'sell', while supermarket firm Morrisons was in the red after Nomura cut its rating to 'neutral'.
Meanwhile, Home Retail was making gains after Investec upgraded its rating on the stock from 'sell' to 'buy', saying that shares
should react positively "to evidence of more resilient trading at Argos" after the group's second-quarter trading update next week.
Mining group Talvivaara surged early on after reassuring investors that rumours regarding the development of the company's cash position during the remainder of the year and ongoing or planned personnel reductions are incorrect.
Africa-focused oil group Ophir Energy rose after significantly upping estimates of potential resources at one of its sites in Tanzania.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 232.90p +3.51%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,614.00p +3.40%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 889.00p +2.48%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 607.50p +2.45%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,475.00p +2.45%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 309.20p +2.42%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,131.00p +2.17%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,875.00p +2.12%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,787.50p +1.90%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 836.00p +1.83%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
ARM Holdings (ARM) 561.00p -2.26%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,167.00p -1.60%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 276.70p -1.18%
Glencore International (GLEN) 383.50p -0.40%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 328.20p -0.24%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 2,929.50p -0.24%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,913.00p -0.16%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 936.50p -0.05%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 137.20p +9.41%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 598.00p +5.93%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 99.35p +5.86%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 360.00p +3.48%
Raven Russia Ltd (RUS) 64.45p +3.12%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 278.80p +2.92%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 18.06p +2.91%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 194.20p +2.70%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 39.33p +2.69%
Lonmin (LMI) 588.00p +2.62%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Henderson Group (HGG) 103.60p -2.36%
Bumi (BUMI) 312.40p -1.76%
CSR (CSR) 320.50p -1.57%
Cape (CIU) 239.00p -1.40%
Shanks Group (SKS) 88.80p -1.11%
ITE Group (ITE) 200.90p -0.94%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 223.60p -0.80%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 625.00p -0.79%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 281.20p -0.78%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,553.00p -0.77%