Commodity stocks hold back FTSE

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down six points, as both the banking and mining sectors curtail their over-enthusiasm.

As the FTSE 100 is more heavily weighted towards commodity stocks, with both oil and gold moving lower yesterday it did not gain the same boost from the Russian intervention into Syria as its European counterparts. Once again this morning the FTSE is lagging behind, even with the surprisingly welcome news that UK unemployment has drifted to 7.7% - something which has taken on greater significance now that Mark Carney is using this as the major barometer dictating interest-rate adjustments.

Tesco’s long-winded exit from the US market after six years of disappointment appears to have taken a step closer to completion. This is at the cost of having to lend money to Yucaipa, a US investment firm, to take Fresh & Easy off its hands. After such poor weather earlier this year, Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, has seen profits drop due to DIY activities being stifled. With the latest Apple phones hitting the headlines last night, UK-based chip-maker ARM Holdings has seen shares jump almost 5% in morning trading.

Last night President Obama spoke to the nation, outlining the US’s commitment to Russian-led efforts to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons. At the same time he expressed willingness to step in, should President Assad fail to meet these requirements. The developments have helped lift the lid of fear that had been hanging over the markets. However, this does now shift focus back to both QE tapering and, more worryingly, the looming issue of the US debt ceiling. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to start five points higher at 15,196.

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