FTSE indices ended on a sour note as supermarkets dragged, followed by a caboose comprising numerous sectors including energy, financial and property. Wall St was down after a swag of economic data, and European markets entrenched their midday weakness.
FTSE 100 closed down 61.2 points, or 0.9%, to 6749.4. FTSE 250 was down 35.91, or 0.22%, to 16,323.1. Europe's DAX and CAC 40 were down about half a percent. At 4.45pm, crude oil was mildly firmer, WTI at $45.12/bbl and Brent at $49.25/bbl, but still below $50/bbl.
Supermarkets were the southbound vanguard. Sainsbury (SBRY) lost 3.18% to 255.4p, with Tesco (TSCO), Morrisons (MRW), and M&S (MKS) behind. Consumer goods outfits Unilever (ULVR) and Reckitt Benckiser (RB.) trailed, as did Burberry (BRBY), Kingfisher (KGF) and Next (NXT).
Energy stocks were led down by Shell (RDSA), off 2.04% to 2018p, after a $280m balance sheet overvaluation of FY inventories. Falls among other oil majors were less. Several utility stocks eased, and a number of commercial property outfits slipped. Financials were led down by Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) and Investec (INVP).
BT Group (BT.A) fell 2.61% to 417.9p on reporting an encouraging Q3, but noting its pension deficit had risen to £7.0bn. Fuller, Smith & Turner (FSTA) rose 0.66% to 986p on chipper Xmas trade. Finally, IAG (IAG) sagged 3.46% to 544.5p after Qatar Airways acquired a 9.99% stake in the British Airways parent.
Weatherly International (WTI), up 82.86% to 1.6p, said the Tschudi Copper Mine is well ahead of its original schedule, with first copper expected February. The crushing and processing plant was now in full operation and functioning effectively.
Bowleven (BLVN), up 13.59% to 29.25p, has received a signed presidential decree approving the Etinde farm-out deal with LUKOIL/NewAge. This needed to be gazetted, the final condition to completion of the Etinde farm-out and receipt of transaction proceeds.
Rambler Metals and Mining (RMM), down 35.9% to 12.5p, said due to the uncertainty in the copper price and an unforeseen decline in copper grade in January it has begun implementing short-term cost cutting measures as it addresses grade and production issues at the Ming Mine.
Ashley House (ASH), down 26.32% to 5.25p, has posted an H1 pretax loss of £1.9m, from a loss of £0.8m a year earlier. It warned profits may be further depressed. Elsewhere, Newmark Security (NWT) rose 32.35% to 2.68p as its H1 revenue rose 34% to £11.9m and pre-exceptional profit almost doubled to £1.6m.
Red Leopard (RLH), down 13.33% to 0.26p, said further in the Idora Mine tunnel rock falls have been found that hinder access to the ore body and sampling thereof. Tunnel clearance would restart this spring. Additional costs were likely.
Stateside, US real gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 2.6% in Q4 2014, an 'advance' estimate from US Bureau of Economic Analysis showed. In Q3 it rose 5.0%. The price index for US gross domestic purchases decreased 0.3% in Q4, from a 1.4% hike in Q3.
US employment costs rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in the quarter to end-December, US Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Wages and salaries (about 70% of compensation costs) gained 0.5%, and benefits (the remaining 30%) rose 0.6%.
Chicago Institute for Supply Management's Purchasing Managers' barometer edged up 0.6 point to 59.4 in January, from December's revised 58.8.
University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment report came in at 98.1 for January, from 98.2 previously. US consumers' forecast for one-year inflation has risen to 2.5%, UoM said, up from 2.4% previously.
Euro-zone consumer price inflation was -0.6% in January, having fallen at an annual rate of 0.2% in December, Eurostat data showed. Unemployment in the single-currency bloc eased to 11.4% in December, from November's 11.5%, Eurostat said.
UK mortgage approvals rose in December to 60,275, from 58,956 in November, Bank of England said. A print of 59,000 approvals was expected. Net Lending to Individuals came in at £2.2bn in December, below expectations for £3.2bn and from £3.3bn previously.
Urals Energy (UEN) has won its case against the appeal made by KNGF in the matter of its outstanding loan to KNGF, equivalent to about $0.5m and expects the court in the first instance to issue the order for its collection in mid-February. It rose 7.69% to 3.5p.
Magnolia Petroleum (MAGP), up 11.5% to 0.63p, said an independent reserves report showed its total net proved, probable and possible reserves (3P) were 1,114 Mbbl of oil and condensate and 3,290 MMcf gas, up 27% and 29% respectively compared to 1 July 2014.
Shanks Group (SKS) said its trading performance has continued in line with its views since its interims in November. Its shares rose 0.39% to 99.63p. Meantime, James Halstead (JHD) said it was on track for a record FY. Its shares fell 1.76% to 321.5p.
Mood Media (MM.) said its shares will be cancelled on AIM from 7am on March 2. It would retain a quotation on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Its shares fell 10.91% to 24.5p.
Asian Citrus (ACHL) fell 5.26% to 6.75p as it juiced out another profit warning. H1 sales and profits would be down on the year due to weather-related crop damage, below-forecast winter crop prices, higher costs and a disappointing performance in the processed fruit business.
Others rising on news included Inchcape (INCH), Premaitha Health (NIPT) and Smart Metering Systems (SMS).