Friday market close: RBS loss sees Footsie lose more ground

The headquarters of the London Stock Exchange. Picture: Sang Tan/AP

The headquarters of the London Stock Exchange. Picture: Sang Tan/AP

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London’s top-flight index slipped further into the red as investors punished the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) following its ninth consecutive year of losses.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 27.67 points to 7,243.7, with RBS emerging as the biggest faller on the market after revealing a £7 billion annual loss, one of the group’s biggest since its Government bailout in 2008.

Shares in RBS were down more than 4 per cent, or 11.2p to 238.2p, with chief executive Ross McEwan also ordering a four-year cost-cutting drive, expected to result in significant job losses and branch closures.

RBS has now notched up losses totalling more than £55bn over the past eight years.

Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said RBS’ dismal performance was a key factor in the London market hitting a two-week low.

“The UK benchmark had come within a hair’s breadth of record territory last week and seems to have, at least temporarily, given up the ghost,” he added.

Airlines were in the ascendancy as investors cheered results from British Airways-owner IAG, which boosted profits despite suffering a blow from the Brexit-hit pound.

Shares were up more than 4 per cent, or 22.5p to 527p, after the group said overall operating profit rose 7.2 per cent.

Away from the top tier, William Hill pushed ahead despite a run of bad betting results taking its toll on profits. Shares were up 6.6p to 268.5p, as revenues rose 1 per cent to £1.6bn over the period.

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