FTSE down after weak performances

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 20 points, after weak performances from US and Asian markets overnight.

Traders are unlikely to be enjoying a relaxing Friday so far, as market-moving data continues to pepper investors with data to digest. Hot on the heels of the surprising European Central Bank interest rate cut, Standard & Poor's has downgraded French sovereign debt. Already below AAA, this move from AA+ to AA does feel a little bit like a delayed reaction. A plethora of trade balance figures have hit the market this morning, with both Germany and China seeing export numbers jump while the UK’s figures have disappointed somewhat. 

It looks very much like Willie Walsh’s hard-line tactics with unions and sloppy work practices have paid dividends as International Airlines Group has posted some good figures, this time boosted by its Iberian arm. Shares have almost doubled since the start of the year, but having come from such a low starting point and with further improvements due there may well be even more blue sky for the airline group. 

Rolls-Royce Group, another company with its head above the clouds, has raised year-end targets for its defence and marine divisions. This improvement helps to ensure that the company as a whole is online to meet full-year targets.  

Twitter started life on the NYSE exchange yesterday with a flurry of activity, and by day's end had added a 73% premium to its $26 IPO price. The social media tech stock closed its first trading day at $44.90 – a price incredibly close to the IG grey market prediction of $44. 

Once again traders will be looking forward to the first Friday of the month's US non-farm payroll figures and unemployment rates. Following on from the disruption of last month’s US government shutdown, the accuracy of this data will be questioned and revised figures later in the month could paint an entirely different picture. 

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 25 points higher at 15,617.

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