FTSE range still narrow as Europe weakens

After a meagre 17-point range yesterday, the FTSE has let itself go a little bit and given us 25 points from top to bottom so far today.

Canary Wharf
Source: Bloomberg

Mining sector weakness leads us lower, as Rio Tinto (-2.8%) and Antofagasta (-2.4%) fight it out for the bottom spot, and Morrisons (+1.5%) has come out on top over its two bigger blue chip rivals in an update on the sector from Deutsche Bank.

Some breaking late-summer M&A activity in the tech sector has helped light up another otherwise quiet morning. Chipmaker CSR surged as much as 39% after the FT reported it had begun the process of looking for a buyer. However, an update mid-morning that it had rejected an approach from the informatively named US company Microchip has cooled it slightly to around £7.10 per share, a still very tidy 23.5% gain on the day.

European markets are lower across the board, and rumblings from France continue as they get to grips with the new cabinet in the face of continued scorn from the economic community over its lagging performance. The threat of a relaxation in the country’s favourable working environment would most likely be a good thing from an investment point of view, but is not going to be accepted lightly by the public. Additionally, the euro has arrested its poor performance in recent days as traders bet that action from the European Central Bank is not as imminent as first thought.

Weakening consumer and industrial confidence added to an overall fall in the European Commission’s Economic Sentiment that has just hit the wires, and reminded us of the situation at hand. Having spent the morning and most of the early hours with a $1.32 handle, GDP revisions from the world’s biggest economy this afternoon may be the deciding factor on whether it can hold above this level or not.

US markets were largely flat yesterday with S&P 500 managing to just hold onto the 2000 level. Currently the opening calls are 17,080 for the Dow Jones, down around 40 points, and 1996.5 for the S&P 500, down roughly four points. 

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