LONDON (ShareCast) - Mining (Euronext: SMI.NX - news) stocks were under the cosh after data released overnight in China revealed that manufacturing activity in the People's Republic had contracted for the eleventh month in succession.
China´s manufacturing sector Purchasing Manufacturers' Index (PMI) for the month of September came in at 47.8 overnight, after 47.6 in August, for its longest streak below the 50 point threshold - which indicates economic contraction - in eight years.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, mining giant Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L - news) Platinum (Amplats) has reported poor attendance at its Rustenburg process operations since it re-opened on Tuesday following a temporary halt to operations amid a wave of labour unrest that has hit the mining industry in South Africa in recent weeks.
The firm announced on Wednesday that the current industrial action is illegal and said it has given notice to its employees that they are required to return to work by Thursday's night shift.
Reports in the Daily Telegraph say that striking Amplats workers have used burning tyres to build a barricade in a street, as they attempt to keep out security forces.
"We'll buy 20 litres of petrol and if police get violent, we'll make petrol bombs and throw them at them," said Lawrence Mudise, an Amplats rock driller, the Telegraph reported.
Results from Irn-Bru maker AG Barr are due out on Monday, raising hopes that there may soon be an announcement regarding the Scottish firm's plans to take over its larger Hertfordshire-based rival, Britvic (Berlin: B6S.BE - news) .
Both stocks headed higher today in a bubbly Beverages (Euronext: SBV.NX - news) sector.
Panmure Gordon reckons Monday's interim results are likely to be overshadowed by the merger talks. It is predicting the company will achieve top line growth of around 5% to £129.7m, but rising input costs, on-going brand investment and a deterioration in product mix is likely to result in a 6% decline in adjusted profit before tax to £15.6m, Panmure Gordon reckons, although a lower tax rate should results in adjusted earnings per share dipping just 1% or thereabouts.
"In the absence of further news regarding the possible merger with Britvic we expect the results to be a muted affair," the broker said.
The deadline for a firm offer being made is 5pm on October 3rd.
Top performing sectors so far today
Industrial Transportation 2,371.99 +0.83%
Fixed Line Telecommunications 2,698.01 +0.72%
Beverages 12,557.78 +0.71%
Tobacco 36,615.79 +0.53%
Gas, Water & Multi-utilities 5,342.91 +0.44%
Bottom performing sectors so far today
Industrial Metals & Mining 2,862.37 -5.10%
Mining 18,908.69 -2.46%
Automobiles (Euronext: SAU.NX - news) & Parts 5,286.37 -2.04%
Personal Goods 16,699.95 -1.77%
Real Estate Investment Trusts 2,083.01 -1.70%