Stocks slide ahead of Fed meeting

Equities are in the red this morning as traders lock in profits from the previous two days' gains ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting tonight.

Previously, traders felt that the Fed would keep its stimulus package unchecked, but it now looks like there is a degree of indecision. Traders will be listening carefully to tonight’s statement to try and ascertain what the Fed is going to do, and any suggestion of a tapering of the quantitative easing scheme could trigger a round of selling.

The London-listed banks are under pressure after the parliamentary commission on banking standards, led by Andrew Tyrie, recommended delaying paying bonuses for up to ten years, as well as prison sentences for reckless bosses. If these proposals are implemented it is likely to have an impact on the future profitability of the banks as it could result in a more risk-averse environment. The banking sector is subsequently off 0.6% this morning.

Homebuilder Berkeley Group announced a full-year pre-tax profit of £270 million, which is an increase of 26% on the year. The share price is currently up 3%.

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