US recession fears, Brexit jitters spook UK shares
(Reuters) – British shares slipped as fears of a recession in the US sparked a sell-off in global markets and uncertainty over Brexit kept investors on the sidelines. Satellite operator Inmarsat jumped after agreeing to be bought out.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent by 0940 GMT, recovering some initial losses after a survey on Monday showed that German business morale improved in March. The FTSE 250 was down 0.6 percent to its lowest since mid-February.
“Having seen a decent recovery from the lows at the end of last year, global stocks appear to have run out of steam, if Friday’s sharp declines are anything to go by,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
Last week’s cautious remarks from the U.S. Federal Reserve and weak manufacturing data from Germany and the United States once again raised concerns about the world economy, making stocks, generally considered riskier assets, less appealing.
Stocks fell across the board. The dollar also weakened, dragging down internationally exposed components.
The next steps on Britain’s departure from the European Union were also up in the air. Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to some lawmakers on Sunday to muster support for her proposed Brexit deal, which they had already rejected twice. Reports circulated that her cabinet was plotting to oust her.
Uncertainty was compounded by an ITV report that May told Brexit-supporting lawmakers she would quit if they voted for her deal.
But a survey showing that German business morale improved unexpectedly in March after six consecutive declines suggested that Europe’s largest economy is likely to pick up in the coming months.
Stocks on the mid-cap index were also pummelled, but Inmarsat jumped 8.3 percent to its highest since early September, after a private equity-led consortium agreed to buy the satellite operator for about $3.4 billion.
Medical devices maker ConvaTec added 4 percent after naming Genus’s top boss Karim Bitar as its CEO Genus shares shed 5 percent.
Oilfield and engineering services provider Wood Group skidded 5 percent after Jefferies cut its rating and flagged upcoming dividend risk.
AIM-listed Majestic Wine tanked 10.5 percent and headed for its worst day since November after it said it would review its dividend policy as it looks to focus on its online retail business, Naked Wines.
Record US crude production weighs on oil prices
Earlier, oil prices dipped as US crude production quickly approached an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day (bpd) just as worries about weakening demand emerge.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $52 per barrel at 0140 GMT, down 31 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last settlement.
International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $60.98 per barrel.
American crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA reached a record 11.9 million bpd in the week ending Jan. 11, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said ,up from 11.7 million bpd last week, which was already the highest national output in the world.
US output has soared by 2.4 million bpd since January 2018, stoking fears of a supply glut.