- FTSE to open around 60 points lower
- Reports of potential second bond default in China
- Data out on US Crude Oil Inventories and EU Industrial Production
The City is set to start the day firmly in reverse on the back of reports of another bond default in China and a negative finish in the US last night.
Spread-betters predict the FTSE 100 will open around 60 points below yesterday's close of 6,685.52.
US stocks finished with moderate losses on Tuesday after a choppy session as ongoing concerns over the Chinese economy were given further fuel by reports that Baoding Tianwei Baobian Electric Co. could have a trading halt imposed on its bonds until its losses have been reversed.
Bloomberg said the group's bonds and stock were "suspended from trading on Tuesday after the Chinese electrical equipment maker said it reported losses for a second year running".
It added: "The exchange, in line with its rules, will decide in seven trading days whether to continue the trading halt on Tianwei Baobian Electric's bonds until its losses are reversed."
The speculation comes after Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology Co. last week became the country's first company to default on its bonds.
Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets, was of the opinion that the sell-off in US markets "could well just be some cautious profit taking starting to kick on after last week's push to a new record high for the S&P500".
"Fears of a slowdown in China, which were exacerbated over the weekend, with those weak trade numbers, emerging market growth concerns, as well as the prospect of no imminent solution to what is going on in the Ukraine is perhaps prompting a more risk-averse scenario amongst some investors," he added.
Geopolitical tensions also weighed on sentiment after Ukraine yesterday boosted its defence forces ahead of a meeting between its Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and US President Barack Obama taking place today.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has rejected offers to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin until Moscow considers US proposals on the turmoil in Ukraine.
Russia is reportedly drafting a counter offer to a US proposal to "de-escalate" the crisis. Washington has demanded that Moscow pull back its troops from Crimea and end attempts to annex the region. Kerry said Moscow's military intervention in Crimea had made any negotiations extremely difficult.
Economic announcements due out today include US crude oil
Inventories, MBA mortgage applications, the US Treasury budget statement and EU industrial production.
Ferrexpo so far unaffected by tension in Ukraine
Ukraine-focused iron ore producer Ferrexpo said it is monitoring the geopolitical situation in the country very closely but has assured investors that operations have been unaffected by the unfolding events of recent weeks. The comments came alongside the group's annual results which revealed that operating profits rose by a better-than-expected 25% in 2013 on the back of strong growth in sales volumes and higher market pricing.
Online grocer Ocado said solid trading momentum continued with first quarter sales jumping 22.6% and expects to grow in line with, or slightly ahead of, market expectations.
UK discount chain Poundland has set the price of its planned flotation at the top of its expected price range, making it worth £750m.
LondonMetric Property has agreed to buy Marks & Spencer Distribution in Sheffield from CBRE Global Investors for £32.2m. The purchase price reflects a net initial yield of 7.6% and will be funded from the UK property group's existing resources.
Powerful revenue growth from its generic drugs and solid growth elsewhere helped Hikma Pharmaceutical post impressive results for 2013. Group revenue increased 23% to $1,365m and a 30% strengthening of operating margins from improvements in the Generics and Injectables businesses helped group profits soar 112% to $212m.