BSkyB and Rolls-Royce dent FTSE 100

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THE Footsie yesterday posted its first weekly loss for a month as falls for BSkyB and Rolls-Royce weighed on the index.

News that Sky’s £500 million share buyback scheme would be at the lower end of market expectations took its toll on the broadcaster, which closed down 3.3 per cent or 28p at 822p.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank downgraded engineering firm Rolls-Royce from “hold” to “sell” after labelling the company’s cost control as “disappointing”. Rolls fell 40p to 1,200p.

The wider FTSE 100 index closed down 33.16 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 6,554.79.

Alan Higgins, UK chief investment officer for Coutts, the finance house owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), said: “We will make new highs, but not necessarily any time soon.

“We’ve had a really good bounce back so some kind of consolidation makes perfect sense. However, with decent yields and relatively low multiples, the UK remains one of the more attractive markets.”

Shares in RBS itself were under pressure ahead of next week’s first-half results as a management overhaul and increasing political interference saw investors book profits after a decent run. The state-backed bank is expected to make an announcement soon on who will replace respected boss Stephen Hester, after he was ousted by Chancellor George Osborne. Its shares were 10.1p weaker at 328p.

Penguin Books co-owner Pearson finished top of the risers’ board with a 6.2 per cent or 77p increase to hit 1,329p after its half-year results beat forecasts. Environmental services outfit Straight jumped 24 per cent or 6.5p to 33.5p after chairman James Newman told its annual general meeting that it had returned to profit.

NEW YORK: US stocks finished mostly flatlast night, though a rally in Amazon.com shares a day after the online retailer’s results helped boost the Nasdaq.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 2.99 points, or 0.02 per cent, closing at 15,558.60, while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended up 1.39 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 1,691.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 7.98 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 3,613.16. For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 per cent, the S&P 500 was flat and the Nasdaq up 0.7 per cent.

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