- Miners sold off after Chinese PMI
- Vodafone makes offer for CWW
- Old Mutual sinks after Goldman downgrade
London's blue chip index experienced a sharp fall in early trading on Monday after some gloomy economic data from China weighed heavily on the mining sector.
The HSBC preliminary flash purchasing managers' index rose from 48.3 to 49.1 in April but still remained under the crucial 50-point level, which shows that the industry is still contracting. "This suggests that the earlier easing measures [from Beijing] have started to work, and hence should ease concerns of a sharp growth slowdown," according to HSBC's chief China economist Hongbin Qu.
Over the weekend, the G20 pledged to supply the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with $430bn "to help build confidence and prevent crises from spreading." This so-called "reinforced anti-crisis firewall" is meant to place the global recovery on firmer footing as the IMF can now set it sights on rekindling growth, restoring confidence and creating jobs.
Meanwhile in Europe, the French presidential battle and budget talks in the Netherlands will also be closely watched by the markets today.
"The conclusion of the IMF meetings and the first round of the French Presidential elections were broadly as expected, so markets are now braced for a string of economic related events over the coming week," said analysts at Investec in the broker's Economics Flash Note emailed to clients this morning. Among these 'events' is the release of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures for the UK on Wednesday.
Investec expects GDP to remain unchanged "with a possibility of a decline" while Barclays Capital predicts flat output "with a substantial negative contribution from the construction sector". Consensus estimates are for a 0.1% increase.
FTSE 100: Only a handful of stocks making gains
Savings, investments and insurance giant Old Mutual dropped over 10% early on after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock from conviction buy to buy.
Meanwhile, the mining sector was heavily sold off on the back of the Chinese economic data. Vedanta Resources, Antofagasta, Evraz, Xstrata, Kazakhmys, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were losing at least 2% each, dragged down by falling metals prices.
Brewing giant SABMiller was under the weather after announcing a raft of senior management changes as its Chairman, Meyer Kahn, retires after 46 years with the firm.
In contrast, International Power was a rare riser after announcing that it is to expand its jointly-owned Tihama power production sites in Saudi Arabia after winning a contract extension through to 2026 from oil company Saudi Aramco.
FTSE 250: CWW soars after Vodafone offer
Mobile phone networks operator Vodafone has launched an agreed bid for telecoms firm Cable and Wireless Worldwide (CWW). The board of CWW has given its support to a 38p a share cash offer from Vodafone. The Vodafone terms value CWW at around £1,044m. Shares jumped in the opening hour, rebounding after last week's steep losses.
"The offer from Vodafone announced today will enable shareholders to crystallise a value, in cash, that represents a significant premium to recent trading levels and avoid exposure to the risks inevitably presented by executing a medium-term improvement strategy," said John Barton, Chairman of CWW.
Imagination Technologies Group, the system-on-chip intellectual property developer, rose after signing a licence agreement with US mobile technologies giant Qualcomm.
Transport group Stagecoach fell despite saying that current trading remains good and it expects to at least maintain operating profit levels in the year to 30 April 2013.
FTSE 100 - Risers
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 679.00p +0.67%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,249.50p +0.17%
International Power (IPR) 417.60p +0.07%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Old Mutual (OML) 148.40p -12.56%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,205.00p -2.59%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,150.00p -2.38%
Evraz (EVR) 369.20p -2.35%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,140.50p -2.31%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 551.50p -2.22%
CRH (CRH) 1,219.00p -2.17%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,930.00p -2.03%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,477.50p -1.96%
Glencore International (GLEN) 415.35p -1.90%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CW.) 37.28p +16.50%
Supergroup (SGP) 360.00p +2.33%
Redrow (RDW) 125.00p +2.04%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 694.50p +1.76%
Perform Group (PER) 308.00p +0.98%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,466.00p +0.83%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 31.54p +0.80%
Phoenix Group Holdings (DI) (PHNX) 528.50p +0.76%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 282.50p +0.57%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 404.70p +0.55%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Home Retail Group (HOME) 100.60p -2.80%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 246.40p -2.80%
Bodycote (BOY) 404.80p -2.50%
Exillon Energy (EXI) 140.40p -2.50%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 140.00p -2.44%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 155.20p -2.02%
Logica (LOG) 78.10p -1.95%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 251.20p -1.80%
Invensys (ISYS) 188.00p -1.78%
TUI Travel (TT.) 185.90p -1.74%