The tech sector has been the only silver lining in town today helped by better than expected earnings announcements from Yahoo and Western Digital after the bell in the US last night. Rising expectations of an announcement from Apple about a new mini-iPad has also helped the sector as have better than expected results from chip maker ARM Holdings in Q3, while giving a positive outlook for the rest of the year.
Even allowing for all of this positivity in the technology sector an upbeat tech sector does not a recovery make, with earnings disappointments weighing across the rest of the equity market space as stocks drop across the board, on concerns about the earnings outlook for companies and the economic outlook for Europe after the Bank of Spain announced that Spain's economy contracted another 0.4% in Q3.
Amongst the biggest fallers today we've seen luxury retailer Burberry slide back for the second day in a row, after rebounding around 11.5% from its lows this month, after sector peer Mulberry announced that its full year revenues would come in below expectations, due to concerns over waning demand from Asia.
The worst performing sector has been the mining sector ahead of Chinese manufacturing data early tomorrow morning as worries about company economic performance and downwardly revised outlooks sees investors continue to book profits after the gains of the past couple of weeks.
Premier Inn and Costa Coffee owner Whitbread is also having a bit of a rough day despite showing a positive set of numbers after the company CEO warned about the prospects of the consumer market through the rest of the year.
US markets opened firmly on the back foot today following on from the negative tone in Europe while a string of earnings misses has also weighed on investors' appetite for risk.
Dow component Du Pont announced disappointing Q3 earnings missing on revenues as well as on profits. 3M also saw Q3 revenues come in light of expectations while at the same time cutting its 2012 earnings guidance accentuating the negative tone.
Package company and economic bellwether United Parcel Services, usually a good indicator of economic activity in the US, posted Q3 earnings in line with estimates, however revenues came in short of expectations raising concerns about the company's Q4 outlook.
Disappointing Richmond Fed manufacturing data for October hasn't helped bearish sentiment coming in well behind expectations of +5 at -7.
In the technology space all eyes are on Apple with expectations that the company will announce a new smaller iPad device, with some reports that it could be called the iPad Air, while later this week the company is due to announce its Q4 earnings numbers.
In a classic risk off day the Japanese yen and the US dollar have been the outperformers with some of the US dollars gains down to a story that Fed Chairman Bernanke may not stand for a third term when his current tenure expires in January 2014. Given that Bernanke has been the primary architect of the current loose Fed monetary policy this has prompted somewhat of a US dollar bounce.
The biggest losers have been the commodity currencies with the Australian and New Zealand dollar leading the way.
The single currency lost ground despite a successful Spanish T-Bill auction after the Bank of Spain announced that the Spanish economy shrunk by another 0.4% in Q3, beating expectations of a 0.7% contraction, even allowing for this slightly better number the lack of growth can only increase the pressure in the long term for Spain to ask for a bailout.
Oil prices have slid back shrugging off threats by Iran to suspend all fuel exports if sanctions continue to increase, focussing on the fact that disappointing company earnings outlooks point to a continued slowdown in economic activity, through the rest of 2012, with US prices finding little comfort either, hitting its lowest levels since mid-July after Richmond Fed Manufacturing data for October posed a sharp fall to -7, missing expectations by quite some way.
Brent prices look set to test the September and October lows just below $107, a sustained break of which could well see further losses towards $102.50.
Gold prices have also continued to fall back towards the $1,700 level as the US dollar continues to gain from the general risk off tone and the disappointing earnings and outlook announcements this morning.
Copper prices have added to yesterday's sharp falls, hitting six week lows on concerns that despite the recent rebound in Chinese data last week, the outlook remains weak for future copper demand ahead of manufacturing PMI data due out early tomorrow morning.
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