FTSE LIVE: U.S. stocks open higher after two-day shutdown; Barclays and BG down

| October 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

By
This Is Money Reporters

03:43 EST, 31 October 2012


|

12:33 EST, 31 October 2012

17.25 (CLOSE):

The FTSE 100 Index sank more than 1 per cent into the red today as blue chip banking giant Barclays spooked investors with news of two fresh investigations that threaten to further damage its reputation.

Storm-hit Wall Street was also under pressure amid market volatility as it reopened following its two day closure.

America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average swung into the red soon after opening, while London’s FTSE 100 closed 67.2 points lower at 5782.7.

Trading volumes surged after the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq reopened following the Hurricane Sandy lockdown, which saw the NYSE close for two sessions in a row for the first time since 1888.

Down 11.3p: Barclays was down five per cent after it admitted separate US authorities are investigating transactions in the Middle East and America's west.

Down 11.3p: Barclays was down five per cent after it admitted separate US authorities are investigating transactions in the Middle East and America’s west.

In currency news, the pound gained
ground as recent robust UK economic data cut chances of the Bank of
England pumping in more money under its Quantitative Easing scheme.
Sterling rose to 1.61 US dollars and 1.24 euros.

Barclays was one of the biggest share
losers – down 5% or 11.3p at 227.5p – after it admitted separate US
authorities were looking into transactions between the bank and Middle
East investors as well as power trading in America’s west.

It also revealed a £47 million loss
in the third quarter, compared to a £2.2 billion profit last year, after
a £700 million hit to cover mis-sold payment protection insurance
claims and a one-off £1 billion charge against the value of the bank’s
own credit.

However, shares have risen 19 per cent over
the last year and analysts said the decline in the share price was
partly driven by profit taking.

Hefty falls from oil and gas
exploration giant BG also weighed on the Footsie, with the group
plunging 14 per cent after scaling back production forecasts for next year.

The downgrade comes after the
prolonged shutdown of the Elgin platform in the North Sea following a
gas leak in March and its decision to reduce drilling in the US due to
low natural gas prices.

Shares slumped 182p to 1147.5p
following the third quarter update, which showed a 16% rise in
underlying earnings to 1.19 billion US dollars (£741 million).

Retail giant Next was also down, by
39p to 3566p, despite increasing the lower end of its forecast profits
range for the current financial year by £15 million to £590 million.

But investors were spooked by slower
growth for its directory business and the company’s comments about its
overall sales performance remaining volatile.

A disappointing third quarter update
from GlaxoSmithKline added the group to the fallers’ board, down 33.5p
to 1386.5p, as it said sales fell 5% and were expected to remain flat
over the full-year against a previous expectation for growth of 2%.

Outside the top flight, Britvic was
in focus after it revealed an extended deadline to complete discussions
with Irn Bru parent AG Barr over a merger. Britvic was 0.8p down at
359.2p, while AG Barr dropped 3p to 445p.

The biggest Footsie risers were
Petrofac up 56p to 1604p, Standard Life ahead 6.4p to 292p, Resolution
4.6p higher at 218.3p and Randgold Resources up 150p at 7400p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were BG
Group down 182p to 1147.5p, Barclays off 11.3p to 227.5p, Croda
International 64p lower at 2201p and Kazakhmys down 20.5p to 709p.

15:45: The Footsie is down 42 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 5807.

13:45:

Major U.S. stock markets opened higher today as they reopened after being shut for two days due to Hurricane Sandy.

The Dow Jones was up 80.02 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 13,187.23, while the Standard Poor’s 500 Index
was up 5.81 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 1,417.75.

Meanwhile, the Footsie is down 16.70 points at 5833.20.

12:30:

Barclays was one of the biggest fallers on London’s leading shares
index today after it revealed two fresh investigations that threaten to
further damage its reputation.

The
bank lost more than 3 per cent after it admitted separate US
authorities were looking into transactions between the bank and Middle
East investors as well as power trading in America’s west. Read more here.

The
wider FTSE 100 Index dipped 8 points to 5842 amid expectations of some
volatility when markets on storm-ravaged Wall Street are re-opened after
their two-day closure.

Barclays was 9.2p lower at 229.6p
after it compounded fears over further investigations by revealing a
£47million loss in the third quarter, compared to a £2.2billion profit
last year.
Delivering his first set of results, new boss Antony Jenkins said a
£700million hit to cover mis-sold PPI claims and a one-off £1billion
charge against the value of the bank’s own credit had pushed the lender
into the red.

However, shares have risen 19 per
cent over the last year and analysts said the decline in the share price
was partly driven by profit taking.

Meanwhile, oil and gas exploration
giant BG continues to lose, with shares slumping by as much as 20 per
cent, wiping more than £8billion from its market value

Down: Barclays shares fell 3.5 per cent as it saw its profits fall in the third quarter

Down: Barclays shares fell 3.5 per cent as it saw its profits fall in the third quarter

11:00:

The UK blue chip index continues to be volatile, trading 7.35 points down at 5842.55.

Among today’s biggest fallers was BG Group, which saw shares tumble after announcing no production growth in 2013. Read more here.

Shares in fashion and homewares chain Next also fell today after it posted worst-than-expected online sales. Read more here.

9:30:

The Footsie is volatile, trading 2.29 points down, or 0.04 per cent, at 5847.61 .

8:30:

The FTSE 100 has opened 10 points lower today at 5,849.80 to then edge back up, as gains in the oil sector, led by
Tullow Oil, more than offset losses at Barclays, which saw its profits
fall in the third quarter.

The UK blue chip index
recorded its biggest gain in two weeks yesterday as it closed up 54.80
points, or 1 per cent, at 5,849.90.

Investors’ focus will be on Wall Street, where U.S. stock exchanges are set to re-open after being shut for two days due to Hurricane Sandy.

Shares in Tullow rose 1.6 per cent on
the back of a report in Kenyan newspaper Business Daily that the oil
group had made a discovery in the African country.’There are reports of
an oil find, and obviously that’s perking up the share price,’
Securequity sales trader, Jawaid Afsar, said.

It was among the top gainers on Britain’s FTSE 100 index, which rose 14.54 points, or 0.3 per cent.

Barclays was the top faller, down 3.5
per cent, as it said its third-quarter profits fell by a fifth due to
charges for the mis-selling of insurance, and as U.S. authorities had
opened two new probes.

British consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to its lowest in six months in October, highlighting the fragility of Britain’s recovery from recession, a survey by researchers GfK NOP showed today.

The poll’s headline index dipped to -30, compared to consensus expectations for a steady reading of -28.

Stocks to watch today include:

STANDARD LIFE PLC : The financial group said its sales fell 9 per cent in the first nine months of the year.

ANTOFAGASTA : The Chilean miner said third-quarter copper output rose almost 9 per cent year-on-year, boosted by improved production at its trouble-hit flagship mine Esperanza and steadier volumes elsewhere.

BUMI : The coal miner said on Wednesday lower prices had hit its Berau division despite an increase in volumes, but was unable to report numbers for part-owned Bumi Resources, which has requested an audit of its third-quarter numbers.

ESSAR ENERGY: The energy group said it secured forest clearance for the Mahan coal block in India and it would help expedite the supply of fuel to the group’s nearby 1,200 MW block.

NEXT : The retailer said stronger sales in late September and early October made up for the unusually quiet start to August. It now expect group profit before tax to be in the range £590million to £620million, previously £575million to £620million.

Broadcaster ITV and testing company Intertek Group are the only FTSE 100 companies to go ex-dividend today, taking a combined 0.18 points off the index, according to Reuters calculations. 

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer,
posted lower-than-expected quarterly earnings while ArcelorMittal, the
world’s largest steelmaker, said it slipped into a net loss in the third
quarter and that it will slash its annual dividend.

Filed Under: finance news

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