Mar­ket mired as fi­nan­cials and oil gi­ants hit sen­ti­ment

Yorkshire Post - Business - - MARKETS REPORT -

TOP flight shares strug­gled for di­rec­tion as oil firms and fi­nan­cial ser­vices groups weighed on the Lon­don mar­ket.

The FTSE 100 In­dex fell 17.03 points to 6182.40, re­cov­er­ing from be­ing al­most 70 points down ear­lier in the ses­sion amid a tur­bu­lent start to the year dom­i­nated by com­mod­ity price falls and fears of a slow­down in China.

Ger­many’s Dax and the Cac 40 in France were also both down by around 0.5 per cent.

The pound was flat against the US dol­lar at just un­der 1.43, de­spite strong Amer­i­can jobs fig­ures on Fri­day which saw the US econ­omy add 242,000 new jobs in Fe­bru­ary.

Ster­ling was slightly higher against the euro at 1.29.

One of the big­gest ris­ers in the top flight was fi­nan­cial ser­vices gi­ant Old Mu­tual, up 7 per cent or 12.4p to 192.1p, af­ter con­firm­ing it was car­ry­ing out a strate­gic re­view which would con­sider break­ing up the busi­ness.

Week­end re­ports had said it was look­ing at a sale of its wealth man­age­ment arm, Old Mu­tual Wealth, val­ued at around £ 3bn.

Old Mu­tual said :“We can con­firm that all op­tions for the strate­gic re­view are be­ing con­sid­ered but no de­ci­sion has yet been made.”

Shore Cap­i­tal an­a­lyst Ea­monn Flana­gan said: “We be­lieve that such

a dis­posal or de­merger of Old Mu­tual Wealth is a dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity.”

How­ever, a num­ber of min­ers rose af­ter trad­ing lower ear­lier in the day as a range of com­mod­ity prices lifted dur­ing the ses­sion.

Glen­core up 10.8 pat was

170.8p, An­glo Amer­i­can was 36.1p higher to 628.1p and Antofa­gasta lifted 42p to 5921/ 2p.

Brent crude oil prices lifted 3 per­cent to just un­der 40 US dol­lars a bar­rel; how­ever oil prices re­main some 70 per cent below their peak in the sum­mer of 2014.

Also, rat­ings agency Fitch said oil prices would re­main at an av­er­age of 35 US dol­lars a bar­rel this year.

Royal Dutch Shell slipped 71/ 2p

to 16771/ 2p, while BP was 2.4p lower at 365.6p.

Fi­nan­cial ser­vices groups were also lower, with RSA In­sur­ance down 9.1p to 439.6p and Provi

dent Fi­nan­cial 62p lower at 3198p. Ad­ver­tis­ing group WPP said it bought a ma­jor­ity stake in UK dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Potato for an undis­closed sum.

Potato spe­cialises in de­sign­ing and build­ing com­plex, se­cure and scal­able web ap­pli­ca­tions, WPP said, and has clients in­clud­ing Google and Canon.

The pur­chase comes af­ter WPP said on Fri­day that its 2015 pre- tax prof­its rose 2.8 per cent to are cord £1.5 bn, buoyed by rev­enue growth in its US busi­nesses. Shares in WPP lifted 17p to close at 1548p.

E ls where, the long-awaited re­port by the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity ( CMA) into retail bank­ing will be de­layed by an­other three months, af­ter the watch­dog un­veiled an ex­tra set of pro­pos­als to help cus­tomers with unau­tho­rised over­drafts. The CMA has sug­gested a range of new reme­dies that in­clude a monthly cap on fees and ex­tend­ing the pe­riod be­tween drop­ping from an au­tho­rised into an unau­tho­rised over draft. The body said the dead­line for its re­port is now Au­gust, af­ter first launch­ing a for­mal in­quiry into the mar­ket in Novem­ber 2014.

The big­gest ris­ers in the FTSE 100 in­dex were Antofa­gasta up

2p, Old Mu­tual up 42 pat 5921/ 12.4p to 192.1p ,Gl en­core up 10.8p at 170.8p and An­glo Amer­i­can up 36.1p at 628.1p.

The big­gest fallers in the FTSE 100 in­dex were Rand gold Re­sources down 200p at 6415p, World­pay down 8.2p at 292p, Whit­bread down 81p at 3722p and RSA In­sur­ance down 9.1p at 439.6p.

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