1005: The Footsie has slumped into the red (down 16 points at 6,343) after the release of the Eurozone GDP figure. After the sharper-than-expected contraction in the French, Italian and German economies in the fourth quarter (announced earlier this morning), it came as no surprise that Eurozone GDP also missed estimates, contracting by 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2012, worse the 0.4 per cent decline expected. This is also substantially worse than the 0.1 per cent contraction seen in the third quarter and marks the sharpest rate of contraction since the first quarter of 2009.
0905: The FTSE 100 is currently trading flat at 6,359. Stocks continue to trade cautiously as traders digest a raft of economic data. Overnight, it was announced that Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.4 per cent on an annualised basis (consensus forecasts were for 0.4 per cent growth). Eurozone fourth-quarter GDP data is also due out later this morning at 10:00 and could surprise to the downside after both French and German GDP declined at a worse-than-expected rate (announced this morning).
0834: UK stocks have begun today´s session with the slightest of retreats, although investors´ eyes seem to be trained on Sterling. In its cross with the US dollar the currency unit has lost the 1.55 level and is now moving towards key short-term levels of technical support. This is what analysts at Commerzbank had to say this morning: ‘GBP/USD remains under pressure following its break below the 1.5642 2009-2013 uptrend. It remains directly offered below its 20 day moving average at 1.5737 and the break lower has introduced scope to 1.5271/35, the 2012 low. This is also the 50 per cent retracement of the move since 2009 located here. This will be a key magnet for price.’ Back on the equities front, Rio Tinto shares are the best performers now on the Footsie, despite the company unveiling its first annual loss in at least 21 years. Nevertheless, the results beat expectations by a wide margin. AMEC, on the other hand, is leading on the downside this morning after providing a cautious outlook for the coming year. FTSE 100 down 7 to 6,352.