security firm G4S and B&Q-owner Kingfisher were among the casualties yesterday as traders reacted to corporate news on a day when the wider market struggled for direction.
The FTSE 100 Index was down just 0.89 points at 5,775.71 with investors already looking ahead to the US Federal Reserve’s get-together at Jackson Hole on Friday as the next major milestone in the quantitative easing saga.
Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: “The longer markets hold on to the expectation of further central bank intervention and fail to get it, the more unlikely we will see any major moves to the upside.”
G4S shed nearly 2 per cent, or 5.2p, to 261p after it reported a sharp drop in half-year pre-tax profits in results dominated by its London 2012 security staffing debacle.
It wrote off £50 million on its bungled Olympic contract and held its interim dividend at 3.42p a share.
Kingfisher dropped 3 per cent, or 9.7p, to 276p after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded it to “underperform”, driven by the impact of economic conditions on the property market in France, where it trades as Castorama.
Marks & Spencer was also lower, down 8.9p to 362.8p as speculation surrounding a possible takeover ebbed.
The mining sector dominated the fallers’ board after Morgan Stanley reduced its target prices for several heavyweight firms amid continuing speculation that the commodity price cycle is turning against the industry. Eurasian Natural Resources was down 20.3p at 318.6p and Kazakhmys lost 26.5p at 634p.
But commodities trader Glencore added 17.2p at 384p as traders decided the waning chances of completing its merger with miner Xstrata might be a blessing in disguise.
NEW YORK: The euro rose against the dollar on bets the European Central Bank will soon act to tackle the bloc’s debt crisis. US crude oil prices rallied as Hurricane Isaac approached the Gulf Coast. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21.68 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 13,102.99. The S&P 500 Index dipped 1.14 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 1,409.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 3.95 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 3,077.14.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North