Leading index dips after seven days of gains, after disappointing Chinese data and banking sector weakness
Standard Chartered is leading the way lower as the market slips back after seven days of gains.
The bank is down 70p at £15.13, a decline of more than 4%, following a report that investment group Muddy Waters was shorting its shares. According to Bloomberg, the group’s Carson Block said he was concerned about the bank’s deteriorating loan quality, and said its loan book could come under stress when the Chinese economy slows down. He reportedly said at a conference in Las Vegas on Friday:
We think the market misunderstands the amount of risk that’s presently in the book.
He pointed to a $1bn loan to Samin Tan, the chairman of Bumi, the coal company at the centre of a dispute between co-founders Nathaniel Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie family.
Meanwhile HSBC is 11.4p lower at 733.4p after Investec moved from buy to reduce. Analyst Ian Gordon said:
We are perfectly comfortable with HSBC’s first quarter 2013 financials – sharply lower impairments and an improving cost performance broadly offsetting weak revenues – but after the stock’s recent outperformance we see limited further upside.
Overall the FTSE 100 is down 21.65 points at 6603.33, not helped by disappointing Chinese industrial production figures. Investors have turned a little more cautious following recent market performances, including a five and a half year high on the FTSE 100.
Miners are mixed after the Chinese data, with Anglo American down 29.5p at 1561.5p and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation 4.7p lower at 289.2p.
But Lonmin has been lifted 15.4p to 294.2p after the platinum miner reported a better than expected first half profit of $54m, up from $18m and lifted its production guidance. The group has been hit by a wave of unrest and violence in South Africa, and warned that wage talks ahead presented a significant challenge.
Elsewhere GlaxoSmithKline has climbed 19p to £16.89 following news late on Friday that US regulators had approved Breo, a treatment for chronic pulmonary disease made in partnership with American group Theravance.
G4S has added 5.1p to 252.8p as bargain hunters emerged after the company’s recent declines. The company has won a couple of UK government contracts as it tries to shed the legacy of its chaotic London Olympic performance.