The UK stock market registered triple digit losses today falling 1.54% to 6,296.67, slumping for the first time in three days, amid concerns that the US Federal Reserve will scale back its bond-buying program. After crossing the 6,400 level on Wednesday, the UK stock market fell even below 6,300 today.
Adding to the UK stock market’s pressure this morning was the Purchasers’ Market Index (PMI) data from Eurozone which showed abysmal figures with the PMI falling 47.3 points from January’s reading of 48.6, while the consensus had expected to see an improvement to 49.0 points. The markets are awaiting the US jobless claims figures, CPI inflation and the Philly Fed index are scheduled for release later on.
Defence giant BAE Systems may have posted a fall in sales and earnings in 2012, but shares gained strongly after the company initiated a share buy-back worth £1bn over the next three years. Mining stocks were under weather as metals prices weakened in the face of a stronger dollar after the Federal Reserve committee meeting. Gold prices are now trading at a seven-month low. Kazakhmys, ENRC and BHP Billiton were among the worst performers, with the latter hit by a downgrade from Citi to ‘neutral’.
Oil giant Tullow stocks fell after it said that it was forced to plug and abandon a well in Uganda after it couldn’t find hydrocarbons. Broadcasting company BSkyB was also lower despite saying that it is launching a new Sky Movies Disney channel next month. Airliner Kingfisher was flat after reporting a decline in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter as it battled against weak consumer confidence, unfavourable foreign exchange and poor weather in the UK.
There have been very few gainers in the UK stock market today. BAE Systems (lon:BA.) 348.90p +5.03%, Rexam (lon:REX) 504.50p +0.50%, Sainsbury (J) (lon:SBRY) 335.50p +0.12%, and Aviva (lon:AV.) 354.30p +0.08%. But the losers were many. The top ten losers in the UK stock market today are Kazakhmys (lon:KAZ) 668.00p -4.30%, ARM Holdings (lon:ARM) 915.00p -3.84%, BHP Billiton (lon:BLT) 2,111.50p -3.30%, Xstrata (lon:XTA) 1,111.50p -3.22%, GKN (lon:GKN) 254.90p -3.15%, Glencore International (lon:GLEN) 370.45p -3.11%, Aberdeen Asset Management (lon:ADN) 428.30p -3.08%, Rio Tinto (lon:RIO) 3,536.50p -3.02%, Evraz (lon:EVR) 272.40p -2.96%, and Vedanta Resources (lon:VED) 1,220.00p -2.94%.