Financial Market Comments from David Jones, Chief Market Strategist, IG Index.
In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 has slipped to its lowest point for 2011, as the Japanese earthquake sees insurers under pressure.
Following last night’s sell-off on Wall Street, with the Dow back below 12,000 for the first time since January, sentiment was always going to be weak coming into today’s UK session.
News of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has sent insurers such as Royal & Sun Alliance and Aviva down a couple of percent as investors remain risk averse.
In recent weeks, dips by the FTSE 100 towards 5800 have tempted the buyers back in, but with the news from Japan and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Libya it looks like things are different this time.
A weak finish going into the weekend would leave many fearing that this is the start of a much deeper, and arguably long overdue, correction for the stock market.
Looking ahead to the US open, at the moment we are expecting the Dow Jones to start off around 80 points lower than last night’s close.
Retail sales data for February is due out this afternoon, but the overriding concerns for investors will continue to be developments in Libya and news from Japan following the earthquake.
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