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FTSE ends bumpy session little changed on Spain bank woes

By BFN News | 04:56 PM | Friday 25 May, 2012

END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended a bumpy session day little changed as the suspension of Bankia shares in Spain spooked investors and the heavyweight miners reversed early gains on demand concerns. At the close of business, the FTSE100 was up just 1.48 points at 5,351.53 with the FTSE250 off 54.96 points at 10,417.52 and the FTSE Smallcaps little changed at 2,915.4. NEW YORK US stocks were mixed in late morning trade as an upbeat consumer sentiment rating failed to offset concerns over the Spanish banking industry. Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12 points at 12,518, the S&P500 rose 2 points at 1,323 and the Nasdaq Composite flat at 2,839. LONDON MARKETS After a bright start an injection of reality brought the main index down later in the session, although a rise in consumer confidence in the US helped lift spirits in the afternoon and drag the FTSE100 back to par. Financial issues had a day of mixed fortunes. Insurance giant Aviva rose 0.4p at 268.4p following reports it is to dispose of its South Korean and Sri Lankan businesses, while car insurer Admiral topped the leaderboard with a gain of 32p at 1,116p. Meanwhile, hedge fund manager Man Group hung onto a rise of 0.55p at 73.25p. Elsewhere, the picture was less rosy, as banks turned red, spooked by the suspension of Bankia shares in Spain, with Lloyds the worst blue chip of the session, down 1.11p at 25.8p. Barclays lost 3.6p at 181.7p and Royal Bank of Scotland fell 0.57p at 20.87p. Miners turned negative on demand concerns, with Vedanta Resources the worst of them, off 33p at 966.5p. Elsewhere, Anglo American fell 25p at 2,001p, while Rio Tinto lost 43.5p at 2,795p and Xstrata slipped 22.4p at 912.6p. Commercial property firm Hammerson eased 0.3p at 422.1p on reports it is discussing the sale of a London tower block with Berkeley Group Holdings. Berkeley shares edged up 1p at 1,191p in response. On the upside, Aggreko rose 50p at 2,157p after HSBC upgraded the temporary power supplier from neutral to overweight and hiked its target price from 1,800p to 2,400p. Holiday Inn operator InterContinental Hotels Group ticked up 6p at 1,412p after announcing that Chairman David Webster will retire on 31st December 2012 and be replaced by Patrick Cescau, former CEO of Unilever. Retailers were well represented on the gainers list by frock shop Next, up 20p at 2996p, while supermarket operators made progress, with Tesco up 1.3p at 309.55p, Morrisons ahead 2.2p at 273p and Sainsbury 1.5p better at 295.5p, while M&S outperformed, rising 4.6p at 347.8p. Water company United Utilities was ahead 12p at 649p after Nomura raised its target price to 715p from 695p following yesterday's upbeat results. Outsourcing group Serco rose 6.5p at 524p, helped by Jefferies International initiating coverage with a buy recommendation and target price of 655p. Story provided by