FTSE LIVE: Miners hit as copper price drops; retailers lifted by post-Xmas sales
9.15: London”s top share index has swiftly shed early gains, with Lloyds Banking Group, BP and Prudential among the leading fallers.
The FTSE 100 dropped 14.6 points to 5,498.2 amid thin post-Christmas volumes after a weak session for Asian markets dampened sentiment.
In Asia, Japan”s industrial output dropped by a seasonally adjusted 2.6 per cent last month – the first decline in two months, although this was offset by expectations that manufacturing and production will rebound this month and next.
Nervous: Investors are bracing for Italy”s debt auction today
Markets were also lower in Europe yesterday and are on mixed form today.
Fallers in London include Royal Bank of Scotland, which was down 0.3p to 20.2p, while fellow state-backed bank Lloyds slipped 0.4p to 25.2p. Elsewhere, BP was 7.5p cheaper and Prudential fell 7p to 617.5p.
Among the miners, Xstrata is the leading faller, down 18.85p at 960.95p, while Rio Tinto is off 34.5p at 3,123p.
In the retail sector, spirits were lifted by initial signs that Britons abandoned some of their recent spending caution in the post-Christmas sales.
Debenhams rose 1p to 57.6p and Dixons Retail lifted 0.1p to 9.8p in the FTSE 250 Index, while supermarket group Tesco was 9.15p higher at 400.15p in the top flight index.
Broadcaster ITV topped the FTSE 100 Index risers board with a gain of 2 per cent, up 1.6p to 66.1p.
Brent crude is trading at $108.53 a barrel and gold is at $1,588.60 today. Copper, which has come under pressure in recent days, is at $342.05.
The FTSE 100 has opened 22.1 points higher at 5,534.8 as markets get off to a positive start after Christmas.
On the continent, Germany”s DAX is down 9 points at 5,880.8 while France”s CAC 40 is down 0.9 points at 3,102.2.
Miners are down as copper prices take a hit. BHP Billiton is 6.75p lower at 1,867.25p and Xstrata is off 5.25p at 974.55p.
Preview: The FTSE 100 looks set to open flat after the Christmas break, stalling after a pre-holiday rally in tandem with weakness on Wall street and in Asia.
U.S. blue chips ended flat to lower yesterday after fluctuating between small gains and losses in a light-volume session, as investors took a breather following a 5 per cent rally last week, and with the session”s U.S. data proving mixed.
Better-than-expected data on consumer confidence, which hit an eight-month high in December, was offset by news U.S. single-family homeprices fell slightly more than expected in October, according to S&P/Case-Shiller data.
Asian shares eased on Wednesday, also in low volume with many market players away for year-end holidays. MSCI”s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.0 per cent.
Miners could lead the fallers in London after copper prices dropped, snapping four days of gains, on concerns that demand may wane after the report showing weak house prices in the U.S., the world”s largest economy.
A bigger-than-expected slump in Japan”s November factory output after Europe”s debt crisis and flooding in Thailand hit major manufacturers also hurt copper prices.
But strength in oil firms should help keep the FTSE 100 steady as Brent crude held above $109 a barrel after rallying for six straight sessions.
Oil prices are being supported by a threat from Iran to halt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if foreign sanctions were imposed on its crude exports over its nuclear ambitions.
Investors are also bracing for Italy”s auction of up to €11.5billion of debt today.
The FTSE 100 closed up 55.73 points or 1 per cent at 5,512.70 last Friday, extending the previous session”s 1.3 per cent rise.
The belated pre-Christmas rally meant the index turned marginally positive for December. At its lowest point in the month the index was down 3.2 per cent.
The blue chip index index is currently down 6.5 per cent on the year, having swung from a peak of 6,105.77 to a low of 4,791.01 over 12 months.
London markets are open as normal today and tomorrow but will close at 12.30pm on Friday ahead of the New Year holiday.
No important economic data is scheduled this week apart from December”s Nationwide house prices report, due on a date yet to be decided.
Stocks to watch today include:
BP: A federal judge ruled that BP was not negligent in the case of a 2009 oil spill and did not violate the terms of its probation from an earlier accident thus escaping further punishment.
Royal Dutch Shell: The oil giant said yesterday that an oil spill offshore Nigeria, the largest in the oil-producing African nation since 1998, has been contained after less than 40,000 barrels leaked into the Atlantic.
Retailers: The numbers of shoppers visiting the sales on Boxing Day, the key post-Christmas sales day for the retail sector, were similar to 2009, according to the survey by market researcher Experian.
- China"s inflation rate drops boosting hopes that global price pressure is easing
- FTSE LIVE: Eurozone gloom hangs over markets
- FTSE LIVE: Stocks flat as retail gloom deepens
- FTSE LIVE: Markets waver as investors digest UK veto to EU treaty change to save euro
- FTSE LIVE: ECB quashes hopes of more bond-buying