Meanwhile, US jobs figures scheduled for release at the end of the week are set to confirm that the Federal Reserve will raise its interest rates, until now unchanged in almost seven years. Financial market data suggests that money managers believe the chances of a rate rise this month now stand at 74pc.
Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
At the bottom end of the FTSE 100, the pain felt by Aberdeen Asset Management typified the concerns that have surrounded US interest rate rates. It reported that its assets under management fell by 12.5pc in the year to end of September, “reflecting negative sentiment towards emerging markets”.
It is feared that higher US borrowing costs will inflict pain upon emerging market economies, many of which have gorged themselves on cheap debt, much of it held in US dollars. As rates rise, the interest on these loans could reach unsustainable levels.
Aberdeen’s shares promptly slumped, dropping by 4.6pc to 319.4p, as investors reflected on management guidance that “the current weakness may have some way to run”. Analysts at Barclays said that the asset manager’s update had been “disappointing” following already high outflows.
Also in the red, shares in BHP Billiton fell on news that Brazil’s federal and state governments planned to sue the miner for 20 billion reais (£3.4bn) after the collapse of a dam last month. The confirmed death toll from the tragedy has reached 13.
“A tragedy of this scale will be politically charged,” said Investec analysts. “BHP now has to balance doing all it can to repair the damage, while also protecting its own interests and those of its shareholders.” Shares in the company dropped 1.32pc to 796.9p.
Feeling unloved, shares in embattled telecoms business TalkTalk slid on a ratings downgrade from Berenberg. The FTSE 250-listed company dropped by 1.7pc to 240p as the bank recommended a new price target of 208p.
In the wake of a cyber attack in October, shares in the business have been sullied. Comments from Berenberg suggests that the damage may not be repaired all that soon. “Uncertainty rules for now,” the bank warned. “TalkTalk’s plan to significantly improve margins faces tough challenges, made more difficult by the recent cyber-crime attack.
“Even prior to that event, TalkTalk’s operating trends were showing signs of weakness. Its retail broadband base shrank, and its total on-net base stagnated in the first half.”
One of few winners on an otherwise gloomy day, miner Glencore stood head and shoulders above the rest. Shares in the FTSE 100 giant rose by 5.26pc to 96.71p, as Credit Suisse looked ahead to the company’s next update, due out next week.
“Glencore is one of several major miners that have significantly underperformed since mid-2015 due to high debt levels,” says Credit Suisse. However, the business is now due a revival, the bank’s analysts argued, lifting their price target to 175p.
“Lower copper prices remain a key risk, but unlike peers Glencore’s marketing business continues to generate considerable cash flows and this, coupled with asset sales, should allow debt levels to fall over the next 12 months and insulate the balance sheet.”
Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley
In the leisure sector, hotelier InterContinental was buoyed by a report of Chinese interest in The Sunday Telegraph. Shares rose by 2.69pc to £25.56 on indications that a Chinese suitor could step forward.
A bid would follow Marriott’s acquisition of InterContinental rival Starwood Hotels Resorts Worldwide last month. One of Shanghai Jin Jiang, HNA, or China Investment Corp, all of which expressed an interest in Starwood, could shift their gaze towards InterContinental.
Later this week, both the FTSE 100 and 250 will be undergoing a facelift as the FTSE’s quarterly review arrives. Supermarket Morrisons, contractor G4S and engineer Meggitt are all up for demotion from the FTSE 100, while recently floated payments company Worldpay could go straight into the index.
Provident Financial and DCC are also contenders to enter the flagship index, according to the London Stock Exchange. Any changes will be subject to confirmation by a FTSE committee on Wednesday, and will rely on closing stock prices from the preceding day.
FTSE 250 constituents including estate agent Foxtons, oil company Premier Oil, and miner Petra Diamonds are among those that could fall out of the smaller index. Newly listed Hastings and Ibstock are contenders to replace them.