The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has so far tumbled 62 points to 6,809 points — pushed down in particular by mining stocks — after last night closing at its highest level since 1999.
The index closed yesterday at 6,865 points — up 95% on the market low in 2009 during the financial crisis — as a host of takeovers and merger talks drove up investor confidence.
Despite today’s dip, the prevailing opinion is that the benchmark blue-chip index will reach 7,000 points in the coming months. This would first see the Footsie first head beyond its all time high of 6,930, reached at the height of the dotcom boom. But a consolidation at current levels is likely before that happens.
These are some FTSE stocks that are struggling today:
Shares in fund manager Ashmore (LSE: ASHM) plunged 8% during early trade this morning to 314p, making it the biggest faller on the London Stock Exchange (Other OTC: LDNXF – news) . The reason for the dive was a 34% profit slump to £80m in the six months ended 31 December, reflecting what the chief executive, Mark Coombs, called a “weak market backdrop”.
The stock has fallen 22% on the beginning of the year as concerns grow that cuts to the US Fed stimulus will reduce demand for riskier assets. Ashmore was hit hard by the emerging markets sell off in 2013, leading to its funds being unable to generate significant returns, and performance fees fell because of this.
Tesco (Xetra: TCO.DE – news)
Tesco (LSE: TSCO) was up there with the biggest blue-chip fallers today, in the wake of boss Philip Clarke’s comments that the brand is in need of rehabilitation.
Tesco is still the market leader in the groceries sector, but it wasn’t able to maintain its market share during Christmas trading. Market share fell to 29.2% from 30% a year earlier, as the store continues to take a hammering from discounters Aldi and Lidl. As part of a new strategy to combat this we’re likely to see a raft of price cuts, and if Tesco can provide better quality at cheaper prices, there’s a chance it can hurt its competitors.
Perhaps investors who got out today aren’t so keen on what would happen to Tesco’s margins in an ensuing price war.
Rio Tinto (Xetra: 855018 – news)
Among the other FTSE 100 blue-chips Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) (NYSE: RIO) underwent the steepest fall, as fears of a Chinese slowdown saw its share price crash 3% to 3,433p. China — being the world’s largest iron ore importer — is crucial to Rio, which makes the bulk of its profits through iron ore.
A slower-than-expected rise in Chinese property prices is leading to nerves about the strength of the world’s second largest economy. Iron ore feeds in to China’s giant infrastructure projects and urban developments, and any signs that this may be abating are concerning for Rio.
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> Mark does not own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.