Mining stocks go from bad to worse

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down 60 points as deteriorating credit conditions in China are weighing on market sentiment. 

There is speculation that the People's Bank of China will loosen monetary policy, but the country is already hooked on cheap credit so it could end up compounding the issue. China is the largest importer of copper in the world and, as a rumours of bad debts increase, the copper contract listed in London is close to its lowest level in 44 months. 

The crisis in Crimea is coaxing traders to short the banks; the prospect of war is not worth too much in terms of exposure. Prudential’s double-digit increase in operating profits and dividend has helped the company bucking the trend for financial stocks. 

Poundland and Pets at Home floated on the stock market today; the discount retailer and pet shop are the latest companies to list on the LSE, as global equity markets being close to record highs is likely to encourage more companies to go public. 

G4S is in the red after the security contractor lost a major government contract. It seems to have been downhill for the company since the London 2012 Olympics. 

In the US we are expecting the Dow Jones to open 30 points lower at 16,321, as concerns over China have prompted a selloff.  

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