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London open: Markets pull back from 10-week high, Ashmore drops

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A disappointing set of results from Ashmore and a host of other stocks on the FTSE 350 dampened sentiment on Tuesday morning, with UK markets suffering sharp falls early on.

This followed a broad sell-off on Wall Street last night as hopes over the continuity of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus programme were quashed by Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart.

In spite of Friday’s much worse-than-expected jobs report, Lockhart said in a speech that he supports “similar tapering steps” as the one taken in December, adding that the economy is on a “solid footing”.

Investors are now concerned that December’s mere 74,000 increase in non-farm payrolls will not have deterred policymakers from reducing asset purchases further at the next Fed policy meeting later this month.

The FTSE 100 was trading down 0.5% at around 6,724 this morning, pulling back after closing at its highest level since November 4th on Monday afternoon.

“The prospect of another reduction of stimulus at the end of this month, set against rather lofty valuations has seen investors decide to take some money off the table in a week that sees US earnings start to come in thick and fast,” said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets.

Ashmore sinks as AuM declines

Ashmore, the UK fund manager that invests in emerging markets, said assets under management fell 4.1% during the quarter ended December 31st amid continued market volatility, pressuring the stock as much as 10% lower in morning trade.

Financial peers Schroders, Aberdeen Asset Management, Old Mutual and Henderson also fell sharply.

Housebuilding firm Barratt Developments failed to impress with a robust set of half-year results, despite housing completions rising by 19% in the first half. Meanwhile, estate agent chain Countrywide also opened with losses despite forecasting annual results at the top end of forecasts.

Also heading lower was UK recruitment agency Michael Page after reporting a 1.2% fall in fourth-quarter gross profit as companies remained reluctant to take on permanent staff.

Big Yellow declined after the self storage operator reported a 2.8% quarter-on-quarter dip in occupancy in its third quarter in what it labelled as its “seasonally weaker” period.

Biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was among the few risers this morning after saying that it expects to return to growth sooner than analysts currently predict.

FTSE 100 – Risers

British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 867.00p +3.28%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,772.00p +2.96%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,505.00p +1.35%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 910.00p +0.33%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,295.50p +0.27%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 786.00p +0.26%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,995.00p +0.10%
Royal Mail (RMG) 587.50p +0.09%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,404.00p +0.08%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,837.00p +0.05%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Schroders (SDR) 2,522.00p -2.63%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,018.00p -1.66%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 452.60p -1.59%
CRH (CRH) 1,619.00p -1.58%
BP (BP.) 488.35p -1.50%
Kingfisher (KGF) 379.30p -1.48%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,009.00p -1.46%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 247.70p -1.43%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 300.40p -1.41%
BT Group (BT.A) 379.50p -1.35%

Source: ShareCast


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