Renewed Russian focus spooks markets

Heading into the close the FTSE 100 is down 40 points, at 6790, as a new round of sanctions spook the markets. 

City of London
Source: Bloomberg

HSBC weighs on FTSE

In London, the FTSE 100 has lost 1% on the session as Russia is back on the radar. The EU has outlined a new wave of sanctions for Russia that will come into effect tomorrow, and traders are already pricing in some sort of retaliation from Moscow.

The British banks have been in focus this week because of the Scottish referendum, however it is the blue chip HSBC that is weighing on the sector. Lloyds and RBS are enjoying a bounce as both bailed-out banks have signalled they would hop across the border if Scotland votes ‘Yes’ next week.

The Scottish question remains centre stage and traders are waiting for the next YouGov poll which is expected tonight; sterling could lose its $1.6 handle if the votes swing to the ‘Yes’ side. 

Tech stocks lead Dow lower

The Dow Jones is trading at 17,017, down 51 points on the session; the number of people claiming unemployment benefit has ticked up again, and the underwhelming jobs data prompted selling from US traders. Tech stocks have fallen out of favour with dealers and are leading the session lower.

IG's grey market is still suggesting a market capitalisation of $207 billion for Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. 

Gold at lowest level in seven months

High grade copper has dropped 0.8% on the day, its lowest level since June as sliding Chinese CPI and PPI figures indicate the Asian giant is losing its appetite for the red metal, and the withdrawal of cash from the interbank market by the Peoples' Bank of China added to the problem.

Gold has dropped to its lowest level in over seven months. The greenback is on the rise and talk of the Federal Reserve raising rates has hurt non-interest bearing assets. 

Euro making steady gains

Sterling has stabilised in the wake of the Survation survey that put the ‘No’ camp in the lead. The brakes are on the pound for now, but that could all change if the mood swings back in Mr Salmond's favour. The currency is still keeping afloat, though this appears to be more due to a lack of fear than a burst of confidence.

The euro is creeping up versus the US dollar and has been hiding behind the smoke screen caused by the Scottish referendum, however $1.3 still remains a long way away. 

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