Equity markets struggle as commodity prices keep falling

Following the release of last night’s Japanese Q3 GDP data, optimism has been given a shot in the arm.  

Japanese trader
Source: Bloomberg

Not only has the country avoided going into a technical recession, the signs of an early recovery are looking more convincing. 

This snippet of good economic data, however, has not been enough to prevent the Nikkei selling off and that negative trend has been picked up on by European traders as a sea of red covers all the major European equity indices.

In years gone by the FTSE’s greater weighting in the mining and energy sectors had been a blessing, of late though it continues to be a millstone around its neck.

Brent crude prices have now hit seven-year lows as the consequences of the latest OPEC meeting continue to be factored in. The Saudi oil minister for the time being has got his way and the template of oversupply and struggling demand shows no sign of change.

The FTSE continues to offer an attractive dividend yield but worries over the ability of many of those constituents to continue to pay out, especially with struggling revenue and profitability, has found a focus.

Anglo American, like all of its counterparties in the mining sector, has found there is no more fat to be cut and, as had been speculated for the last week, it had to face the reality that it could no longer pay out the dividend.

Where one goes, others will follow and the possibility that BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto might be forced into similar action now looks increasingly likely.

Air France-KLM has posted an unsurprisingly weak set of November passenger numbers with an initial €50 million hit. After analysing similar tragedies in London and Madrid, the airline group expects a tough three-to-six month period before revenues and passenger numbers recover.

Ahead of the open we expect the Dow Jones to start 71 points lower, at 17,659. 

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