Equity markets remain edgy over concerns for Libya and oil prices

<p>Equity markets remained edgy in early trading this morning as rumours emanating from Libya did little to quell investor worries. Stories from the region suggested […]</p>

Equity markets remained edgy in early trading this morning as rumours emanating from Libya did little to quell investor worries.

Stories from the region suggested that anti-Gaddafi protestors were not open to discussions with the troubled leader, citing a lack of trust. These rumours resulted in early session gains being short lived as investors feared tensions escalating.

The FTSE 100 traded up to 5999, +20 points, by 8.10am before being quickly sold off following the breaking rumours; by 8.30am the UK leading index was in negative territory and feeling nervy. Thankfully the rumours appeared to lack substance and equity markets had recovered by 9.30am, with the FTSE 100 back around the highs of the day.

The leader of the pack during this morning session was Old Mutual. The UK listed financial conglomerate traded up to 136.9p (+2.7%) in early trading following a well received market update. Adjusted operating profit before tax rose 14% to £1.48 billion, with total revenue up to £21.4 billion from £20.5 billion a year earlier.

Also helping to prop up the FTSE were BT and Vodafone, both of whom were buoyed by an upgrade to the European Telecommunications sector by Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley said the telecom sector was its defensive sector of choice due to positive growth potential and substantial dividend yields over other sectors. Both UK listed blue chips posted 2% gains during this morning’s session.

The first hour of this morning’s session highlighted how concerned investors remain over the problems in Libya. With investors looking for a resolution to the troubles any hint of them being prolonged spooks equity markets. Add into the equation the potential oil production problems and it is easy to understand why equity investors seem trigger happy with banking profits or opening short positions. With little out on the macro front this week, only the BoE rate decision and US initial jobless claims on Thursday are worthy of note, it would seem that equity market moves will be dictated by news from Libya.

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