FTSE 100 watch: Italy’s political crisis sends Footsie tumbling

Smiths share price lifted by M&A news

FTSE 100 watch: Italy’s political crisis sends Footsie tumbling

The UK benchmark index has fallen deep into the red today, as investors returned from a three-day weekend to political turmoil in Italy. Smiths Group (LON:SMIN) meanwhile has rallied to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard amid M&S news related to its Medical unit.

FTSE 100 heads south

As of 12:07 BST, the Footsie had given up 111.40 points to stand 1.44 percent lower at 7,618.88, with the majority of blue-chips trading in negative territory. Investors have shunned equities today amid prospects for a snap vote in Italy and with Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy due to face a confidence vote over his leadership this week.

“Even a weaker GBP (typically a boon for FTSE global stocks) and EUR battered by Italian/Spanish geopolitical risks were not sufficient to prop up equities,” said Accendo Markets analyst Artjom Hatsaturjants in a note, as quoted by Reuters.

“The FTSE 100 remains on a downward path, following the recent break below trendline and horizontal support,” Joshua Mahoney, market analyst at IG commented in a note, adding that “a bearish outlook remains in play unless we push through 7,761”.

Individual movers

Smiths Group meanwhile has bucked the trend after confirming in a statement that it was “in very early stage discussions about a potential combination of its medical division with ICU Medical”. Smiths’ share price is currently 2.67 percent better off at 1,766.00p.

Precious metals miners Fresnillo (LON:FRES) and Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) are also outperforming the broader market, tracking gold prices higher, with investors fleeing to safe haven assets. Fresnillo’s share price is currently 2.77 percent better off at 1,333.50p, while shares in Randgold Resources are changing hands 1.15 percent higher at 5,824.00p.

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