FTSE slumps as uncertainty lingers

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is down over 15 points, as the market's bullish sentiment has been further put to the test following yesterday’s sell-off.

At the start of Friday's business, traders are asking themselves if Thursday’s negativity was simply a bit of a shake-out or the start of a more extensive move lower. Bank of England governor Mark Carney will be speaking today, at around midday, and although he will not be issuing any specific data releases the subject of UK interest rates and forward guidance will no doubt come to the fore. Also talking today, George Osborne has been on a Q&A panel in Davos, where he defended his strategy for turning the UK economy around under the glare of the global media.

Where a decreasing number of cards being sent in December might have let down Royal Mail, an increase in parcel deliveries has more than compensated for this. The increasing trend for shopping online, and the consequent need to deliver these purchases, has helped the newly floated company meet market expectations.

Weir, the Scottish-based engineering company, has managed to secure another maintenance contract in the Middle East. This time it will be providing assistance to Lukoil's Iraqi operations. Once again, disruption to a number of mines in South Africa has seen labour forces down tools over poor pay and conditions, affecting the likes of Anglo Americanand Lonmin.

Today’s economic calendar is completely clear for the US, although heading into the weekend in Davos we do tend to get one or two more interesting quotes coming from the massed ranks of global power players. In contrast to the scarcity of data from the economic calendar, the US corporate reporting season continues at a pace. Up today we have Xerox Corp, Procter & Gamble, Honeywell and State Street Corp among the leading names. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 40 points lower at 15,500.

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This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited and IG Markets South Africa Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. International accounts are offered by IG Markets Limited in the UK (FCA Number 195355), a juristic representative of IG Markets South Africa Limited (FSP No 41393). South African residents are required to obtain the necessary tax clearance certificates in line with their foreign investment allowance and may not use credit or debit cards to fund their international account.