Date: Friday 01 Jun 2012
1630:Close Investors seem to have taken the old adage of “sell in May and go away” to heart. Thus, UK stocks have today signed off before the long weekend with a retreat to their lowest level in six months. That following the weak economic and manufacturing data which has been released around the globe in the last 24 hours, spanning from the United States, on to China and then to here, in the United Kingdom. The result of the above is that in all of those regions there is now talk of the need for further economic stimulus, and in the US and the UK of more quantitative easing (or ‘twisting’ in the case of the Americans) to be exact. Hence the rise to be seen today, for example, in the shares of Randgold Resources, African Barrick Gold and Petropavlovsk in the FTSE 350. FTSE 100 finishes down 61 at 5,260.
1535: The Footsie is some 27 points off its intraday low but still over a whole percentage point lower, down 50 at 5,261. ITV is suffering a heavy fall after Investec downgraded its rating on the stock from hold to sell and cut its target price from 90p to 60p, citing deteriorating conditions in the TV advertising market. Meanwhile, resources stocks Evraz and Vedanta are also among the worst performers as metals prices tank.
1452: The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) has revealed that the US manufacturing PMI fell by 1.3 from 54.8 to 53.5 in May. While production and employment expanded at a slower rate than in April, new orders accelerated with the new orders index rising by by 1.9 from 58.2 to 60.1. FTSE 100 down 60 at 5,261.
1330: US Non-farm payrolls grew by 69,000 in May, far below the 150,000 expected by the analysts' consensus. Furthermore, payroll numbers for the previous two months were revised down by a combined 49,000. The average work-week fell to 34.4 hours from 34.5. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 per cent (Consensus: 8.1 per cent).
1326: Economists at Barclays also now see the possibility of a QE extension and are pointing out to clients that, 'the MPC has recently taken comfort from the fact that the main business surveys have pointed to stronger activity than have the official data. The sharp drop in the manufacturing PMI in May is therefore an important piece of news as it suggests the fundamental underpinnings of activity may actually be rather weak. If the services PMI (published on Thursday morning) were to show a similarly precipitous fall, the MPC is likely to give serious consideration to a QE expansion.'
1318:Such has been the economic data out over the last 24 hours in the US, China and the UK that Brent futures have gone into a tail-spin below the 100 dollars per barrel mark and economists are now busy trying to react. For their part those at Citi and JP Morgan now see the Bank of England extending its quantitative easing policy. US non-farm payrolls data coming up in 10 minutes. FTSE 100 down 36 to 5,271.
1102: London's leading shares are now in decline following this morning's disappointing manufacturing data. GKN and Johnson Matthey, both exposed to the car industry, are under the cosh, as are oil-related stocks Weir, Petrofac and AMEC. FTSE 100 is down 40 at 5,281.
0944: Having crested 5,350 shortly before 09:00 Footsie got an attack of vertigo and moved lower. Disappointing PMI data for manufacturing at 09:30 gave the index a further kick, and the index barely remains in positive territory. FTSE 100 is up 11 at 5,318. BP has been displaced as the best performing blue-chip by the ever volatile Man Group, despite it looking likely that the hedge fund management group will slip out of the top-share index at the next constituent reshuffle.
0938: The UK Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Manufacturing in May came in worse than expected, tumbling to 45.9 from April's revised 50.2. The market had been predicting a May reading of 49.7. A level below 50 indicates contraction. Worth noting, the fall seen not only in export orders but now also in domestic orders.
0857: Stocks have held on to gains this morning despite disappointing manufacturing data from both China and the Eurozone. Overnight, it was revealed that China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) missed forecasts, falling from 53.3 to 50.4 (Consensus: 52.0) in May, while HSBC's own Chinese PMI fell from 49.3 to 48.4, down from an initial estimate of 48.7. Meanwhile, Eurozone manufacturing PMI fell from 45.9 to 45.1 in May, just slightly higher than the initial estimate of 45.0 (Consensus: 45.0). The FTSE 100 is up 28 points at 5,349.
0813: The market has given a big thumbs-up to BP's decision to wash its hands of TNK-BP, the joint venture it set up with a consortium of Russian investors. Rumours suggest that it has not been a happy marriage, and divorce proceedings could be underway after BP received unsolicited approaches from parties interested in acquiring its stake in the joint venture. The Footsie is in positive territory despite most miners opening moderately lower. FTSE 100 is up 29 at 5,5336.
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