Markets: Goldman profits give Footsie a boost

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LONDON’S Footsie index scraped through the 6,100 barrier after better-than-expected profit figures from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan triggered a partial late-afternoon recovery.

Stocks had been under pressure in morning trading after the World Bank cut its growth forecast for the global economy in 2013 to 2.4 per cent from 3 per cent.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 13.33 points at 6,103.98, having fallen as low as 6,076.12 during the morning session. British banks were on the back foot, despite impressive figures from Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase.

Goldman’s profits nearly trebled to $7.3 billion (£4.6bn) in 2012, while JP Morgan posted a record profit of $21.3bn after a 53 per cent rise in the final quarter. But JP Morgan shares were knocked on the Dow Jones after publishing a damning report into its so-called London Whale trading loss.

In the FTSE 100, Lloyds Banking Group was off 1.4p to 53p and Royal Bank of Scotland was down 4p at 350.1p after the Bank of England said they need to hold more capital to bolster their balance sheets. Barclays shed 2p to end the day at 293.4p.

Supermarket operator Tesco, which is working with authorities to discover how traces of horse meat came to be discovered in its frozen beefburgers, fell 2.5p to close at 347.1p.

Imperial Tobacco was the biggest faller in the FTSE 100, down 116p at 2,368p, after turning ex-dividend, meaning investors buying the stock won’t be entitled to the latest pay-out.

Among the Scottish stocks, Glasgow-based engineering firm Weir Group dipped by 1p to 1,948p despite analysts at RBC Capital Markets raising their price target on the stock to 2,400p from 1,850p amid “brighter prospects potentially in store for oil and gas” services companies.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 ended nearly flat, as solid earnings from two major banks and a bounceback in Apple shares offset concerns about a lower forecast for global growth in 2013.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 24.42 points, at 13,510.47. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 0.21 points at 1,472.55. The Nasdaq Composite index added 6.77 points to 3,117.54.