WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Broker slashes Weir Group forecasts

Weir Group was struggling after a 'sell' note from Investec
Weir Group was struggling after a 'sell' note from Investec
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Airlines and house builders were among the winners from the Autumn Statement but the scale of the Chancellor’s largesse was not enough to sway the wider market.

The FTSE 100 closed 25.47 points lower at 6,716.63 as its big oil and commodity components remained under pressure.

Weir Group was struggling after a “sell” note from Investec in which the broker slashed its profit forecasts for the next two years.

Analyst Thomas Rands said: “Weir’s share price has already been severely impacted as investor sentiment has turned, but in our opinion it is too early to turn positive as both minerals and oil and gas are likely to be impacted by lower volumes and pricing pressure despite the aftermarket bias.”

Shares in the Glasgow-headquartered company, which had lost 12 per cent in the previous week amid the sell-off in oil-related stocks, dropped a further 1.5 per cent or 29p to 1,798p.

George Osborne’s changes in stamp duty provided a gift for the house building sector as Barratt Developments rose 7.9p to 458.9p and Taylor Wimpey improved 2.2p at 132.5p. After the market closed, it was confirmed that the duo will both enter the FTSE 100 at the next reshuffle on 19 December.

Estate agency Countrywide also benefited, with shares up 12.1p to 437p, but upmarket London chain Foxtons moved in the opposite direction – down 2.6p to 152.8p – on fears that duty hikes for those buying the most expensive homes will hit demand.

The announcement that air passenger duty for children will be scrapped meant EasyJet was flying 40p higher at 1,668p and British Airways owner IAG cheered 5.8p to 466.1p. Small-cap Flybe said the levy changes should have gone further but shares still rose 5.5p to 105.5p.