Mineral stocks lead FTSE lower
In London, the FTSE 100 is paying the price for its relatively high proportion of natural resource stocks. Despite the turnaround in the underlying commodities themselves, the mineral-exposed companies are the biggest losers today.
These challenging times for commodity companies will see a shakeup in the sector; extractions costs are high and markets prices are low, which spells trouble for the industry. I foresee profit warnings for the small oil explorers and miners will be forced to rethink some of their more ambitious projects.
European equities are relatively shielded from major moves in the commodities market but traders don’t want to be short going into the ECB’s meeting on Thursday, for fear of yet another QE clue being dropped from Mario Draghi.
Black Friday sales weigh on retailers
In the US, the Dow Jones is down 49 points at 17,778 as a double digit drop in Black Friday sales ensured US retailers had a Black Monday! Starting off the US shopping season on a negative note does not instil confidence in the run up to Christmas.
Traders are instead holding out hope for Cyber Monday.
Apple shares are off over 2% as dealers take note of the brutal Black Friday numbers.
The commodities complex has staged a bounceback today. Brent oil bottomed out early this morning and the move higher is showing no signs of letting up, but the energy still has a long way to go before it gets back to the pre-OPEC meeting level.
Copper swung from the red into the black as the final HSBC survey confirmed that China’s manufacturing is teetering between contraction and expansion. The official survey from Beijing showed a minor expansion on the month but traders put more weight in the HSBC report.
Gold is charging towards $1200, a level it has found difficult to crack lately. If the precious metal wants to avoid posting a second consecutive annual loss, it must comfortably clear that mark.
The euro continues to take advantage of the pullback in the US dollar.
The slip in German manufacturing is a sign of what is to come, as the powerhouse of the eurozone registered a decline in manufacturing in November, and traders will be keeping an eye out for further cracks in the strongest economy in Europe.
Thursday’s ECB meeting will reveal whether Mr Draghi is a man of his word or if he will be the boy who cried QE.
Sterling rallied as the UK manufacturing sector impressed traders on two fronts; not only was October’s reading revised higher but November’s rate of expansion sped up.