- Bundesbank reiterates criticism of ECB bond-buying
- ECB considering caps on bond spreads
- Xstrata down on concern over Glencore merger
After swinging between gains and losses for most of the morning session, the FTSE 100 was trading in the red by Monday lunchtime after Germany's Bundesbank quashed hopes surrounding the European Central Bank's (ECB's) potential bond-buying programme.
The Bundesbank reiterated its opposition to the ECB's intervention in the bond markets, saying: "The Bundesbank remains critical of the purchase of euro system sovereign bonds, which comes with considerable risks for stability.
"Decisions about a possibly even broader mutualisation of solvency risks should be anchored in financial policy, meaning with the governments and parliaments, and should not occur via central bank balances."
A report over the weekend in Der Spiegel said that the ECB is considering setting caps on bond spreads in southern Europe in order to help keep a lid on periphery country borrowing costs. However, the spokesman of Germany's Finance ministry that he does not know of any ECB plan to target bond spreads.
Luis de Guindos, Spain's Finance Minister, said that his country would like the ECB to commit to unlimited intervention in second sovereign debt markets before it officially requests financial aid.
In other news, Asian stocks slipped overnight as hopes for Chinese stimulus fade. Investors are concerned that policy-makers will refrain from further easing after a rebound in property prices during the month of July.
FTSE 100: Xstrata slips on merger risks
While company announcements were thin on the ground on the FTSE 350 today, plenty of market chatter made sure that there were some movements in share prices.
Mining giant Xstrata was leading the decline on the Footsie on Monday after reports that Qatar Holding had raised its stake in the firm, adding to speculation that the investment fund is attempting to build its stake to block the proposed merger with Glencore International. The Qataris are demanding a offer sweeter than the 2.8 Glencore shares per Xstrata share.
Meanwhile, sector peers ENRC was sold off after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating on the stock from 'outperform' to 'neutral', saying that earnings will weaken "substantially" over the next year. Kazakhmys, Evraz, Fresnillo, Rio Tinto and Randgold were also out of favour.
Banking peers Lloyds, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland were in demand early on, though under-fire lender Standard Chartered bucked the trend following last week's $340m settlement with US authorities surrounding alleged dealings with Iran.
Security giant G4S rose after The Financial Times said that the group would pull its operations out of Pakistan due to "an increasingly hostile environment for foreign security companies".
Johnnie Walker whiskey maker Diageo was making gains on reports that it was closing in on a $3bn (£1.9bn) deal to acquire Jose Cuervo tequila. The firm already distributes the tequila brand globally.
FTSE 250: Bovis gains after beating first-half forecasts
House-builder Bovis Homes rose after seeing profits come in ahead of forecasts in the first half, helping the firm to double its interim dividend.
Insurance and reinsurance firm Amlin was also higher after revealing a first-half profit compared to a loss the same time a year earlier as catastrophe loss activity reduced sharply.
Platinum miner Lonmin was lower, extending last week's losses, on developments from its Marikana mine in South Africa at which over 30 people were killed last week after protests about pay.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 35.00p +2.28%
Barclays (BARC) 195.55p +1.40%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 589.50p +1.20%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,183.00p +0.85%
Old Mutual (OML) 172.30p +0.82%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 233.40p +0.78%
British Land Co (BLND) 544.00p +0.74%
Sage Group (SGE) 303.50p +0.70%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,814.00p +0.68%
Capital Shopping Centres Group (CSCG) 336.20p +0.66%
Datafeed and UK data supplied by NETbuilder and Interactive Data.
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