Market report: FTSE drops after Moody's downgrade banks

The FTSE was down this morning following poor global growth forecasts and the decision by credit ratings agency Moody's to downgrade some of the world's biggest banks.

Last night Moody's lowered the credit ratings of 15 of the world's biggest lenders to reflect the risk of losses they face from volatile capital markets. But the move was well-flagged, ensuring that the markets were not surprised when they opened this morning.

Instead, with the price of Brent crude oil hovering at around $90 a barrel, it was energy and mining stocks that dragged the index down by one per cent in early trading.

The biggests faller was oil services firm Petrofac, off 4.7 per cent. Fresnillo, Tullow Oil, Eurasian and Vedanta joined the downward slide and lost more than three per cent, while miners Randgold, Kazakhmys and ENRC were all hit.

BHP Billiton fell 2.4 per cent after unexpectedly announcing a major $832m (£541m) investment in its Illawarra coal mining operations in Australia's New South Wales state.

In banking Royal Bank of Scotland suffered, shedding 0.6 per cent. RBS is set to receive up to £300m less than it expected for a package of branches it is selling to Santander UK. This is because the business has failed to hit a number of targets outlined in the deal, according to press reports.

But the decline was limited at other financial firms, with Barclays down 0.2 per cent, HSBC off 0.1 per cent and Lloyds adding 0.1 per cent.

There was little in the way of corporate news but retailer Marks & Spencer fell by 2.9 per cent after analysts at Macquarie cut their target price for the firm.

Even defensive stocks struggled this morning and gains were few and far between. BT topped the leaderboard, up a measly 0.4 per cent, while Unilever, Vodafone and supermarket firm Morrisons were all up 0.2 per cent.

In the FTSE 250 bookmaker William Hill added one per cent after announcing that it has gained a license from the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate in the United States.

In Asia the Nikkei was down 0.3 per cent and the Hang Seng down 1.4 per cent.