Date: Friday 08 Jun 2012
- Fitch downgrades Spain to BBB
- Bernanke warns of risks to US economy
- Lamprell tanks after profit warning
London's FTSE 100 index dropped into the red in early trading on Friday after Spain's credit rating was downgraded last night, exacerbating concerns about the country's troubled banking sector.
Fitch Ratings cut its sovereign debt rating for Spain by three notches on Thursday night, from 'A' to 'BBB', the lowest investment grade rating. The agency said that the likely cost of restructuring and recapitalising the Spanish banking sector will be between €60bn and €100bn, much higher than its previous estimate of €30bn.
"The dramatic erosion of Spain's sovereign credit profile and ratings over the last year in part reflects policy missteps at the European level that, in Fitch's opinion, have aggravated the economic and financial challenges facing Spain as it seeks to rebalance and restructure the economy," Fitch said.
Investors will still be digesting comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last night who said that “the situation in Europe poses significant risks to the US financial system and economy and must be monitored closely.”
Metals prices were retreating on Friday morning, pressuring mining stock lower: Vedanta, Kazakhmys, Antofagasta, Xstrata, Rio Tinto, Glencore and ENRC were among the worst performers.
BHP Billiton was among the fallers after Bank of America Merrill-Lynch reduced its profit forecasts for the group on the back of lower oil prices estimates. A hold recommendation was maintained.
Heading the other way were defensive stocks, benefiting from an aversion from risk. Utilities peers SSE, United Utilities, Severn Trent, National Grid and Centrica were making slight gains early on.
Power systems group Rolls-Royce fell after announcing that it is to take full control of Aero Engine Controls (AEC), the engine controls joint venture it established in January 2009 with US aerospace giant Goodrich.
Energy markets-focused engineer Lamprell was battered after sneaking out a profit warning on Wednesday after the London market closed. The group has revised its sums and updated its earnings guidance, and the news is not good. The group now anticipates it will make a half-year loss of between $15m and $20m, compared with earlier guidance of "a small loss". The group also said that Chairman Jonathan Silver would step down.
Budget airline easyJet edged higher after revealing that passenger numbers in May were 14.4% higher than a year ago. Traffic has been steadily increasing since February.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,754.00p +1.10%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 673.00p +0.67%
Diageo (DGE) 1,587.50p +0.67%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,439.00p +0.63%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,182.00p +0.60%
National Grid (NG.) 657.00p +0.54%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 684.00p +0.44%
SSE (SSE) 1,334.00p +0.38%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,099.00p +0.36%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,049.00p +0.34%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vedanta Resources (VED) 935.00p -5.12%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 215.30p -4.06%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 2,896.00p -3.95%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 700.50p -3.78%
Barclays (BARC) 186.00p -3.55%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 426.00p -3.45%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,761.00p -3.24%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,052.00p -2.95%
Xstrata (XTA) 938.40p -2.94%
Glencore International (GLEN) 350.90p -2.85%
FTSE 250 - Risers
RPS Group (RPS) 206.50p +4.82%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 679.00p +3.90%
Bumi (BUMI) 332.50p +1.96%
Ruspetro (RPO) 159.30p +1.85%
Synergy Health (SYR) 879.50p +1.74%
Berendsen (BRSN) 483.20p +1.43%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 2,674.00p +1.02%
BH Macro Ltd. EUR Shares (BHME) € 19.13 +0.63%
PZ Cussons (PZC) 332.00p +0.45%
JPMorgan Asian Inv Trust (JAI) 177.20p +0.45%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Lamprell (LAM) 72.40p -33.39%
Afren (AFR) 110.70p -5.55%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 44.94p -5.49%
Kesa Electricals (KESA) 51.60p -4.62%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 70.60p -4.40%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 487.90p -4.15%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 119.50p -3.86%
Avocet Mining (AVM) 157.20p -3.85%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 70.90p -3.80%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 228.10p -3.76%
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