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FTSE extends losses in midday trade as bankers retreat

By BFN News | 01:03 PM | Tuesday 21 February, 2012


MIDDAY REPORT: Headline shares extended losses in midday trade, as news of a second bailout for Greece received a less-than-enthusiastic response. Miners were muted and banks lower in quiet trade. At midday, the FTSE100 was down 25.02 points at 5,920.23 with the FTSE250 off 60.3 points at 11,359.9 and the FTSE Smallcaps 5.3 points lower at 3,089.05. NEW YORK US stock futures suggest a positive start as investors catch up with the ramifications of the long-awaited Greece bailout deal. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 34 points at 12,963, S&P500 futures added 2 points at 1,361 and Nasdaq 100 futures were flat at 2,582. LONDON MARKETS News of a Eurozone agreement over the Greek bailout package met a muted response, with analysts voicing concerns over the precedent set by requiring bond investors to take a 53.5% 'haircut'. The latest official data from the ONS showed the UK public sector budget was in surplus by £14.7bn in January, with net borrowing lower than expected. However, the news had little or no impact on the equity markets. Miners were largely negative although there were some notable exceptions. Vedanta Resources topped the midday leaderboard with a gain of 47p at 1,405p, while Anglo American edged up 15.75p at 2,705.75p, brushing off news the Competition Commission has declared the construction joint venture of its Tarmac operation and Lafarge to be uncompetitive. Elsewhere, Antofagasta lost 19p at 1,314p and Rio Tinto dropped 14.5p at 3,691.5p. Oil producers were hit by supply concerns, although WTI crude remained firmly over $105 a barrel. Tullow Oil sank to the bottom of the blue chip league, down 60.5p at 1,540.5p, despite announcing a new oil find in Sierra Leone. BP edged down 2.72p at 496.53p and BG Group drifted 20p lower at 1,489p. Banks were lower, with Barclays off 4.97p at 245.93p and part-nationalised Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland down 0.805p at 35.54p and 0.57p at 27.91p, respectively. Car insurance specialist Admiral was the best financial stock of the day, rising 22.5p at 1,033.5p when Credit Suisse upgraded the group from neutral to outperform and raised its target price from 1,100p to 1,300p. Oil and gas industry service group AMEC lost 4.5p at 1,103.5p after full-year results failed to inspire. The group announced a £400m share buyback which investors saw as writing off any chances of M&A activity. Retailers were off the shopping list, with fashion house Next down 24.5p at 2,755.5p and luxury brand Burberry off 8p at 1,428p. Meanwhile, Morrisons sank 4.8p at 292.5p when Goldman Sachs downgraded the supermarket operator from sell to conviction sell and trimmed its target for the stock from 292p to 279p. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com