- Ukraine tensions rise as deadline passes
- Ukraine calls on pro-Russian radicals to lay down arms
- Glencore Xstrata sells Las Bambas for 5.85bn dollars
techMARK 2,649.91 -0.75%
FTSE 100 6,546.34 -0.23%
FTSE 250 15,806.60 -0.58%
UK markets got off to a subdued start on Monday morning as stocks paused at a three-week low, with sentiment still fragile after the sell-off last week.
Meanwhile, heightened tensions in Ukraine were causing investors to scale back their appetite for risk as the deadline for pro-Russian separatists to disarm passes.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.2% lower at 6,546 in early trading. The index finished last week with a 2% decline to 6,561.70, its worst closing level since March 24th when it ended the session at 6,520.39.
Global equity markets sank sharply last week with New York's tech-heavy Nasdaq in particular falling 3.1% as investors continued to dump so-called 'momentum' stocks which have performed well over recent months. Concerns about steep valuations going into the new earnings season also prompted traders to offload shares.
Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Alexándr Turchínov gave pro-Russian radicals in the east of the country until today to lay down their arms. The deadline follows the wounding of a Ukrainian special forces officer and five other soldiers in a gun battle on Sunday, during operations carried out in the city of Slaviansk.
In response to these events, Ukraine is to launch a large-scale anti-terrorist campaign against those groups of protestors who have barricaded themselves in various government buildings in the eastern region of the country. Turchínov said that Kiev will not allow a repeat of recent events in Crimea.
Russia responded by urging Ukrainian authorities not to use force against pro-Russian radicals and called on Kiev to cease a "war with its own people".
The economic data calendar for Monday looks a little light, with Eurozone industrial production and US retail sales being the only major releases during the session.
Glencore Xstrata gains after Las Bambas sale
After months of negotiations, commodities trader and mining giant Glencore Xstrata has finally reached an agreement to sell its Las Bambas copper project in Peru. Las Bambas is being sold for $5.85bn to a consortium of investors, including a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned China Minmetals Corp.
The company said that proceeds would go towards de-gearing its balance sheet and any surplus capital would be returned to shareholders "within an appropriate time frame and structure".
Precious metal miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo were also in demand this morning as gold and silver prices gained.
Leading the downside were building and construction stocks with Ashtead, Barratt Developments and Persimmon among the worst performers.
Airlines easyJet and IAG were extending losses made Friday when Heathrow's monthly traffic statistics revealed that 5.8m passengers passed through the London airport in March, down 2.8% on the year before.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,486.00p +1.59%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 838.00p +1.58%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,804.00p +1.48%
Diageo (DGE) 1,894.50p +1.17%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 315.15p +1.14%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 313.10p +1.13%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,429.50p +1.09%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,140.00p +0.95%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,714.00p +0.83%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,656.00p +0.80%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 850.00p -3.41%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 378.20p -2.10%
Whitbread (WTB) 3,954.00p -1.89%
Rexam (REX) 491.30p -1.74%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,671.00p -1.71%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 943.50p -1.56%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,295.00p -1.52%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,019.00p -1.36%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,240.00p -1.35%
Mondi (MNDI) 985.00p -1.35%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 659.00p +2.33%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 361.20p +2.27%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,090.00p +2.06%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,574.00p +1.42%
Perform Group (PER) 241.90p +1.38%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,060.00p +1.05%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 263.60p +1.03%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,386.00p +1.02%
Savills (SVS) 640.00p +0.95%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 482.40p +0.94%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Evraz (EVR) 78.60p -3.38%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 166.40p -3.26%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 193.90p -2.90%
888 Holdings (888) 143.30p -2.72%
Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 1,185.00p -2.63%
Henderson Group (HGG) 242.00p -2.46%
RPS Group (RPS) 304.40p -2.44%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 367.90p -2.41%
Telecity Group (TCY) 648.00p -2.19%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 366.00p -2.14%