FTSE 100 leads European bounce as China slides further
The UK's FTSE 100 index led European stockmarkets higher on Tuesday as China's market continued to tumble following Monday's global market rout.
The FTSE 100 index was trading up 2.6% to 6052 by mid-morning on Tuesday, after shedding close to 5% on Monday in one of the worst global stockmarket sell-offs since the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank in 2008.
European stockmarkets also enjoyed a mild bounce, with Germany's DAX up 3.1%, France's Cac 40 up 3.4%, Spain's Ibex 35 up 2.8% and Italy's FTSE Italia All Share up 3.3% by 11.20am on Tuesday.
Dubbed 'Black Monday' by market pundits, 24 August saw global equity markets shed an estimated $1.6 trillion. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index closed 3.6% down after shedding 1,000 points at the open. This followed a 3% slide on Friday (21 August).
The global sell-off was prompted by concerns over the ability of the Chinese government to halt the slide in China's stockmarket, combined with the country's slowing rate of economic growth and the falling value of its currency.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index shed 8.5% on Monday, marking the worst sell-off in a single market since the crash of Lehman Brothers bank in 2008. On Tuesday the index continued to lose ground, shedding 7.6%.
In response to the crisis, the Chinese government announced a cut to its main interest rate by from 4.85% to 4.6% on Tuesday night (Beijing time), marking the fifth interest rate cut since November.
The People's Bank of China (PBoC) also cut also cut banks' reserve requirements, which is the level of cash that Chinese banks must park with the PBoC, by 0.25 percentage points to 18%.
This is effective as of 6 September.
Investors on the sidelines
On Tuesday morning the UK's chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne warned the UK was 'not immune' to the global crisis.
"Britain is a very open economy, we are probably the most open of the world's largest economies. And so we are affected by what happens, whether it is problems in the eurozone or problems in Asian financial markets," he told the Financial Times.
Commenting on the recovery of the FTSE 100 and equivalent indices around Europe on Tuesday, David Madden, market analyst at global trading firm IG, warns global markets are not yet out of the woods.
"While the moves we've experienced this morning in Europe are encouraging, the market still has a lot of ground to make up before we're back to normal levels.
"In these situations, dealers are very fearful of a false dawn, and unless the market moves above certain technical levels we could be heading for another move lower. Too many traders have been traumatised by yesterday's collapse, and are waiting it out on the sidelines," says Madden.
Nigel Green, chief executive of deVere Group, offers a similar view. While large falls in equity prices tend to be viewed as a buying opportunity by adventurous investors, Green suggests that now is not yet the time for 'bargain hunting'.
"Investors must be vigilant of the Black Monday events and what has led to them. They need to ensure that their portfolios are properly diversified by geography, industrial sector and asset class in order to manage risk and navigate the growing volatility," he says.
"In terms of what investors should do, it is not 'sell in a panic', or the opposite reaction: 'fill your boots with bargains'. For most long-term investors, it is 'keep calm and carry on'. It's nearly impossible to predict what the stockmarket is going to do in the immediate future – and it is much too early to say if the current sell-off is nearing its bottom."
A market-weighted index of the 100 biggest companies by market capitalisation listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is often referred to as “The Footsie”. The index began on 3 January 1984 with a base level of 1000; the highest value reached to date is 6950.6, on 30 December 1999. The index is “weighted” by how the movements of each of the 100 constituents affect the index, so larger companies make more of a difference to the index than smaller ones. To ensure it is a true and accurate representation of the most highly capitalised companies in the UK, just like football’s Premier League, every three months the FTSE 100 “relegates” the bottom three companies in the 100 whose market capitalisation has fallen and “promotes” to the index the three companies whose market capitalisation has grown sufficiently to warrant inclusion. Around 80% of the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange are included in the FTSE 100.