Weak PMI data nudges FTSE lower

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 44 points at 6372, and Greece continues to hold traders' attention. 

City of London
Source: Bloomberg

The Greek situation hasn’t gone away and it will hang over the market for the foreseeable future. The election in Greece could be the beginning of the end of the eurozone and traders are scurrying to the safe-havens of gold and government bonds.

Banking stocks are being battered for fears that the political uncertainty in Greece could turn into a regionwide financial crisis. If the left-wing Syriza party gain power in Athens it could be the first domino in the eurozone to fall. The FTSE 100 received a nudge lower after the December UK services figures showed a major drop from November’s report.

China is keen to start 2015 on the right foot by speeding up 300 infrastructure projects in an effort to keep its growth rate above 7%. Whenever Chinese growth is called into question Beijing has a habit of throwing money at the problem, so the initiative isn’t exactly surprising. The mining companies are holding onto marginal gains because of Chinese stimulus, but the negative sentiment from Greece is eating away at the advances.

Tullow Oil’s share price is in trouble again as the turmoil in the oil market is punishing the weakest of the FTSE 100 litter.

The countdown begins to the UK general election as we are just over four months away from the day voters go to the polls. IG is offering a market on the number of seats each of the major parties is likely to win, and it currently indicates there will be no overall majority. Our market is showing that it will be a close call between Labour and the Conservatives, with Labour taking 285 seats while David Cameron’s party will snatch 281. The SNP failed in its quest to gain an independent Scotland last year, but our market suggests the party will obtain 32 seats in Westminster, and this could be a bargaining chip in the event of a hung parliament.

In the US we are expecting the Dow Jones to open ten points higher at 17,511, as the market bounces back after the major decline in yesterday’s session. It seems to me that US index futures are taking a breather before the next move lower.

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