FTSE lower on Japan debt downgrade

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The FTSE 100 Index was 43.6 points lower at 5921.4 in early trading

The FTSE 100 Index tracked Asian markets lower as investors reacted to lacklustre earnings in America and a credit-rating downgrade for Japan.

There was also uncertainty ahead of GDP figures in the United States, even though the world’s biggest economy is expected to show further momentum with fourth-quarter output at an annualised rate of 3.5%.

The FTSE 100 Index was 43.6 points lower at 5921.4 ahead of the GDP numbers and after the Nikkei 225 closed more than 1% lower in Japan.

This was after Standard & Poor’s lowered the country’s long-term sovereign debt rating one notch to AA- due to its ballooning public debt.

Fourth-quarter earnings in the United States provided little comfort for investors as online retail giant Amazon missed Wall Street revenues targets, while consumer products firm Procter & Gamble and rival Colgate-Palmolive reported lower profits.

In London, shares in pubs and brewing group Marston’s were 0.4p lower at 103.4p after the company reported strong trading figures for Christmas and new year.

The 11.2% rise in the 12-day period helped the Tavern Table owner to offset the impact of snow disruption at the start of December, while its operating margin was slightly better than a year earlier.

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