THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Ukraine sanctions hit BP and banks

An escalation in the conflict in Ukraine stopped the latest rally in its tracks.

BP, which has a stake in Rosneft as well as strategic ties, was 9.8p lower at 496.8p. Picture: Getty

Even before news that an airliner had been brought down over the conflict zone, fresh Western sanctions against Russia were weighing on shares in the sectors affected.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC, said: “In the latest round of sanctions, specific corporations including state oil company Rosneft have been targeted. These companies are being blocked access to US capital markets. Some of the largest multinational banks that Russian firms might use for funding are American so although the sanctions are surmountable, it does limit funding options.”

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BP, which has a stake in Rosneft as well as strategic ties, was 9.8p lower at 496.8p. Among the financials, stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown fell 47p to 1,115p, while Barclays dropped 5.8p at 210.2p.

The FTSE 100 Index was down 46.35 points or 0.7 per cent at 6,738.32.

But traders tuned in to ITV as a swoop by the owner of Virgin Media for a 6.4 per cent stake in the commercial broadcaster fuelled takeover speculation.

While Liberty Global stressed it had no plans to make a bid, the purchase of BSKyB’s holding for £481 million excited investors and sent shares 6 per cent higher, to 195.1p. BSkyB was 7.5p higher at 897.5p.

Elsewhere in the top flight, shares in Sports Direct International were 2 per cent lower after its annual results failed to provide any clues for investors about when the company might pay its first dividend. The stock was 16p off at 697.5p, despite a 16 per cent rise in profits.

There was also a fall for energy supplier SSE – off 20p to 1,523p – after it blamed “very competitive market conditions” for a drop in electricity and gas customer accounts. The loss of customers came despite a recent move to freeze prices.