Markets: Petrofac recovers some lost ground

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Shares in oilfield services firm Petrofac recovered slightly this morning after yesterday’s downgrade to forecast profits by European peer Saipem.

Petrofac had been down 7 per cent in Wednesday’s session.

Yesterday’s biggest Footsie faller was miner Antofagasta, which slumped more than 8 per cent after a warning over costs. Although it reported that full-year targets of 700,000 tonnes of copper production should be met, it said costs were rising at an accelerating rate. Its shares were 106p lower at 1,169p, with sentiment hit by the surprise news that the US economy shrank in the final quarter of last year.

London’s FTSE 100 Index was also lower after US GDP figures came in far below expectations. But the ongoing shift in investor sentiment, which has fuelled a rally of more than 6 per cent since the start of the year, kept the losses to a relatively small 16.1 points, with the index closing at 6,323.1.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: “It feels like it’s been such a long time since we’ve seen a sell off in equities that it comes as rather a surprise and we’ve almost forgotten what it looks like to see red across our screens, but today there’s a clear-cut reason for the decline.”

Another faller was temporary power firm Aggreko, which saw shares drop more than 5 per cent to 1,612p amid speculation that it could deliver another downgrade when it unveils full-year results in March. A report also said that upstart competitor APR Energy was at an advantage because it uses gas for its generators, cheaper than Aggreko’s oil-fuelled version. Shares in APR were up 1.6 per cent at 737.5p.

NEW YORK: On Wall Street fell last night after the Federal Reserve said in its latest statement that economic growth had stalled but indicated the pullback was probably temporary.

The Dow Jones industrial 
average was down 44.23 points, or 0.32 per cent, to close at 13,910.19 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished down 5.89 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 1,501.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 11.35 points, or 0.36 per cent, ending the day at 3,142.31.