Markets dropped sharply once again on Wednesday as investors' appetite for risk continues to be eroded by the ongoing government shutdown in the US.
Not even the news that well-known dove Janet Yellen will be nominated as the next chair of the Federal Reserve lifted stocks this morning, with the FTSE 100 extending a three-month low. The London index ended Tuesday's session at 6,365.83, a level not seen since July 3rd when it closed at 6,229.87.
Yellen will be the first female at the head of the US central bank and is anticipated to argue for a continuation of aggressive monetary easing started by her predecessor, Ben Bernanke. "This is generally seen as a positive appointment for financial markets as Yellen is widely regarded as even more dovish than Bernanke, which could help prolong the Fed's asset purchases well into next year," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Impasse continues Stateside
There has been some, albeit small, developments on the debate over the debt ceiling overnight after President Barack Obama said he was open to a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government but only if it is not attached to conditions.
He said he was willing to hold budget talks with the Republicans as long as they lift "threats" against the economy and stop demanding concessions in policy in exchange for a deal. "[They] don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs", the President said.
According to reports, Senate Democrats are planning a test vote in the coming days over whether to give Obama to authority to raise the debt ceiling in the short term.
House Speaker John Boehner however remained defiant, saying that an immediate increase in the debt ceiling without conditions was "unconditional surrender". He said: "There's going to be a negotiation here [...] It's time to have that conversation."
FTSE 100: Vedanta slumps despite strong Q2
Vedanta Resources delivered record oil and gas production and a rise in the output of refined zinc, lead and silver in the second quarter. However, the stock was among the worst performers early on after reportedly being downgraded by Morgan Stanley to 'underweight'.
A number of blue-chip stocks were also falling after going ex-dividend today, including Aviva, Smith & Nephew, Tesco, Travis Perkins, Wolseley and WPP.
Heading the other way was mining group Fresnillo after announcing that the temporary suspension of Minera Penmont's explosives permit at Noche Buena has been lifted and operations have restarted.
Housebuilder Persimmon was a high riser this morning as it continues to rebound after hitting a six-month low earlier this week. Banking peers Standard Chartered, HSBC and Lloyds were also higher.
FTSE 250: Greggs impresses after Q3 improvement
UK bakery chain Greggs advanced after seeing the rate of like-for-like sales decline ease in the third quarter, while total sales growth was helped by the opening of new shops. The company, which has nearly 1,700 retail outlets across the country, said that LFL sales were down 0.5% in the 13 weeks to September 28th, an improvement from the 2.9% fall in the first half.
Ground engineering firm Keller fell on the news it is to buy Esorfranki Geotechnical, the largest ground engineering business in South Africa, as it looks to accelerate its entry into selected sub-Saharan construction markets.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Persimmon (PSN) 1,123.00p +4.27%
William Hill (WMH) 400.40p +0.86%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,439.50p +0.77%
Kingfisher (KGF) 363.70p +0.69%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 668.00p +0.53%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 72.90p +0.52%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,990.50p +0.47%
Centrica (CNA) 363.60p +0.30%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,041.00p +0.29%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,773.50p +0.28%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,023.00p -4.39%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 952.50p -2.56%
Sage Group (SGE) 313.90p -2.09%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,059.00p -2.05%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 823.50p -1.85%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,318.00p -1.72%
WPP (WPP) 1,216.00p -1.70%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,578.00p -1.57%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,211.00p -1.54%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 324.10p -1.52%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Alent (ALNT) 350.00p +4.48%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 101.70p +3.04%
Diploma (DPLM) 630.00p +3.03%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 317.60p +2.82%
Greggs (GRG) 438.00p +2.50%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,050.00p +2.44%
Countrywide (CWD) 552.50p +2.31%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 716.00p +2.21%
Bellway (BWY) 1,296.00p +2.05%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 336.50p +2.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Morgan Advance Materials (MGAM) 296.20p -3.20%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 264.60p -3.01%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 501.50p -2.72%
Halma (HLMA) 532.00p -2.65%
Afren (AFR) 131.30p -2.01%
Hays (HAS) 115.10p -1.88%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 2,834.00p -1.84%
Informa (INF) 512.00p -1.82%
Hiscox Ltd (HSX) 648.00p -1.74%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,094.00p -1.71%