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FTSE 100 seen lower after sharp falls on Wall Street, commodities recover

The FTSE 100 is projected to fall sharply today following the biggest three day drop in the US market in 10 months, which followed the announcement of President Barack Obama’s plan to curb risk taking in the banking sector. A disappointing quarterly report from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) also contributed to the weakness.

The UK blue chip index is seen 95 points lower, which would extend Friday’s losses when it declined 0.6%.

Just four FTSE 100 constituents managed to post gains of over 1% with Xstrata (LSE: XTA) taking the lead with a 2.4% climb. Base metal miner ENRC (LSE: ENRC) followed with a 1.7% advance, while engineering firm Invensys (LSE: ISYS) and copper miner Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) added slightly more than 1%.

Financial stocks emerged as the heaviest fallers in the index with interdealer broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) sliding to the bottom of the pile with a 6.6% loss. London Stock Exchange Group (LSE: LSE) and banking group Barclays (LSE: BARC) shed more than 4%, while insurance focused investor Resolution (LSE: RSL) was down 4% and insurer Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) slid 3%, as did quality and safety services company Intertek (LSE: ITRK) and broadcaster BSkyB (LSE: BSY).

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 2.1%, while the broader S&P 500 index was down 2.2% and the technology focused NASDAQ composite declined 2.7%.

Asian stocks also were in bearish mode. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.1%, China’s Shanghai composite index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 both declined 0.7%, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 1.2% and South Korea’s KOSPI retreated 0.3%.


Oil prices slightly improved after recent falls with March Brent Crude hitting US$73.08/barrel, while US light, sweet crude inched up to US$74.64/barrel.

Precious metals also bounced back as gold reclaimed the US$1,100/oz mark and silver and platinum reached US$17.14/oz and US$1,556/oz respectively.

Base metals stayed at about the same level. Copper and nickel held steady at US$3.32/lb and US$8.32/lb, while zinc remained at US$1.06/lb.

Existing home sales and an earnings report from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are due out in the US today.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company