Markets: Miner ATH puts its assets up for sale

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COAL miner ATH Resources slumped 12 per cent after Scotland’s second-largest mining group revealed it had drafted in accountancy firm KPMG to look at selling its assets.

Doncaster-based ATH, which has all five of its pits in Scotland, warned last week that a “comprehensive restructuring” of the group’s businesses was required after high-profile venture capitalist Jon Moulton’s Better Capital bought up some of its debt. ATH closed down 0.05p at 0.38p.

Barclays was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 after Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund sold the last of the warrants it bought four years ago, netting itself a total profit of £1.7 billion.

The warrants, which convert into shares, were sold to Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, which in turn sold them on the open market. The bank closed down 5.4 per cent or 13.7p at 240.5p, with peers Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland down 1.3p at 45.1p and 8.9p at 285.1p respectively.

Banking stocks dragged down the broader FTSE 100 index, which fell 32.42 points to end the day at 5,786.72. City analysts said the appointment of Mark Carney as the next Bank of England governor had surprised traders, although there was a mooted reaction to the news in terms of stock movements.

Shares in Stobart Group slipped into reverse after the haulage firm said it was parking plans to issue a retail bond because of too much competition in the market. The stock fell 3.2p or 2.9 per cent to close at 107.2p.

Among the Scottish stocks, Aberdeen-based oil and gas explorer and producer Bridge Energy climbed 3.3 per cent or 3.5p to 109.5p on the day that the Aim-quoted stock switched its dual-listing on the Oslo stock exchange from the junior ranking to the main market.

NEW YORK: Wall Street ended lower last night as retailers fell on concerns about heavy discounts at the start of the US holiday shopping season and the “fiscal cliff” kept investors wary of making big bets.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 43.65 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 12,966.03 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished 2.94 points, or 0.21 per cent, lower at 1,406.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.06 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 2,976.91.