MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: Energy firms dip on shake-up talk

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SHARES in Scottish Gas owner Centrica and Perth utility SSE suffered after energy secretary Ed Davey called for radical reform of the energy supply market.

The wider FTSE 100 Index climbed 19.9 points to 6591.6 over the course of the session but Centrica and rival SSE were among the biggest fallers.

The Cabinet minister’s fresh intervention in the energy debate knocked as much as £600 million off the value of Centrica as the stock fell nearly 4 per cent during the day.

It pared some of the losses by the end of the session, to leave shares down nearly 2 per cent, or 5.3p, to 308.9p, while rival SSE was off 6p to 1351p.

Elsewhere, equities markets in Europe saw a mixed performance, with France’s Cac 40 up and German’s Dax down. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was in negative territory as traders took profits following a rally on Friday’s US employment figures. On currency markets, the pound was flat at $1.64 and €1.20.

Elsewhere in the top flight, shares in Vodafone initially fell on speculation that it is preparing a €7 billion bid for Spanish cable company Ono as it attempts to revive its European business, but later recovered to finish flat at 222p.

Outside the FTSE 100, shares in set-top box maker Pace led the way in the FTSE 250 Index after Barclays improved its rating on the Yorkshire-based firm. Shares rallied 27.7p to 385.5p, a rise of nearly 8 per cent.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Fresnillo, up 70p to 862.5p, Petrofac up 37p to 1232p, Amec up 31p to 1073p and Randgold Resources ahead 106p to 4530p. The biggest fallers were Hargreaves Lansdown off 49p at 1304p, G4S down 6.1p to 229p and Babcock International down 25p to 1342p.