Wall Street extends Friday's falls

Heading into the final hour of trading the FTSE 100 is down around 40 points, extending the weakness that has dogged blue-chips for much of the day.

FTSE slides further

There was an element of catch-up in today's initial weakness after the Dow Jones closed around its lows on Friday, so the FTSE 100 was always going to be marked down at the start of this week. That finish by the Dow erased all of the gains seen since Wednesday’s 'no taper' Federal Reserve meeting. Economic data today provided little cheer, with European manufacturing growing at a slower-than-forecast rate.

Those of the opinion that stock markets have overshot to the upside in recent months will feel emboldened by the performance in recent days – if markets can’t hang on to last week's Fed-inspired sharp gains, surely this is a market that has further to fall? The next few days will show if that appetite to buy in dips is still there for investors, with many looking at the 6500 level as the potential floor for any further FTSE weakness.

Apple bucks Wall Steet declines

US markets have continued this week how they finished last, with all the major indices losing more ground in early trade. One of the big names bucking this early trend was the share price of Apple – news that sales of its new iPhones had outstripped previous product launches caught many people on the hop and the shares were up around 3% on the open. The last couple of weeks have seen plenty of volatility around Apple’s stock, but for now it seems like investors feel the worst of the slide over the last 12 months could well be over.

Crude prices down

Over the past few days there are signs that commodity traders are becoming less concerned about the impact that Syria will have on oil prices. Today has seen US crude drop to its lowest since early August, but is still up by more than 10% on the year. It would probably be too much to expect a drop back below $100 a barrel in the short term, with enough concerns remaining to ensure there are some bargain hunters around this level.

GBP/USD one to watch

It was something of a mixed day for the US dollar against the other major currencies. As with stock markets there is the feeling that the post-Fed move may have gone too far. GBP/USD is one to watch this week – having seen a 10% gain since early July there still appears to be more of 'buy the dips' rather than 'sell the rallies' attitude to the pound. But with the heady heights of $1.60 having proved something of a barrier in recent years, there is the feeling that some slightly worse-than-expected UK data is all it would take for a degree of GBP selling pressure to build up at these levels.

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