Syria worries dominate sentiment

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 20 points, as the threat of military action leads to a spate of continuing nervousness in financial markets.

The ‘reasons to be worried’ are building up for embattled investors, as they add western intervention in Syria to their list of issues that could seriously derail the still-intact market rally. Gold and oil continue to move higher, while stock markets in the region itself are suffering their second day of heavy losses. Intervention in Syria could well turn out to be a ‘Pandora’s box’, with ramifications which are difficult to envisage at this stage. When tapering and the change of US Federal Reserve chairman are thrown into the mix, it looks as if September could be a difficult month for those with a longer-term view.

6400 has held so far for the FTSE 100, as cooler heads prevail following something of a mini-rout yesterday. The somewhat abrupt escalation in the Syrian crisis caught many out, and the ripples created will take time to dissipate. For UK investors the main event of the day is yet to come, as Mark Carney makes a speech in Nottingham, where he is expected to lay out more of the Bank of England’s thinking on its new-fangled forward guidance.

The main mover on the index this morning is G4S, as the company catches out the pessimists and moves 4% higher. It appears the bears may have overreached themselves, with the company looking to dispose of some businesses and issue shares to reduce debt. With the new CEO now getting his feet firmly under the desk, the chance is there for G4S to put the Olympics fiasco firmly behind it.

US futures are easing higher in the wake of the heavy selling seen on Tuesday, but Wall Street is likely to mimic the nervous tone of European markets, at least until we start to get more information on what form, if any, intervention in the Middle East will take. Pending home sales for July are expected to show a slowing of year-on-year growth, but any better reading will simply reinforce the perception that tapering will start in September. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 25 points higher at 14,800.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.