FTSE slides on uninspiring data

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down over 55 points, as both German IFO data and UK GDP fail to motivate traders.

A touch more stability has arrived in the EU this morning, as Italian prime minister Enrico Letta’s government looks to be on a far sounder footing following extensive behind-the-scenes discussions with its coalition partners. Due to a bank holiday in Germany tomorrow, the ECB has moved forward its announcement on interest-rate decisions by 24 hours. The early-afternoon statement is unlikely to signal any change in the base rate, but may give a little more guidance on longer-term strategy. As much as Europe appears to have its own issues, the wrangling on the other side of the Atlantic will probably dictate European market sentiment.

With both Tesco and Sainsbury's issuing trading updates today, investors will have plenty to digest from the food retailers. Undoubtedly the board at Sainsbury’s will be the happier of the two, especially as Tesco has outlined plans to reduce its global focus and concentrate on the UK market. After the supermarket's investment in revamping its UK operations last year, it appears that £1 billion doesn't get you very far. BP continues to face the consequences of its Gulf of Mexico disaster, as further allegations of incompetence have been raised in the US courts.

The UK construction PMI in September dipped from a six-year high, but nevertheless the UK economy is on the mend. Across the pond, we are calling the Dow down 85 points at 15,106, as it has been over a day since the partial shutdown and there is no sign of the Democrats and Republicans reaching an agreement.

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