At 3.40pm the FTSE 100 was down 38 points at 600. It was at one point down 58 points. With the Street (DOW) down 100 points at the time, the prospect of improvement on today’s effort was remote. Frankly after the incredible rally on Friday and Monday it would have been unreasonable to have expected more. Two bad sets of numbers today in the form of BHP Billiton -5.5% and Standard Chartered Bank -5%, did little to improve sentiment. Volumes were lighter than in previous days with just over 1 billion shares being trade on the LSE.
Talking of the LSE, its share price was up 10.38% at 2553p on news that a merger with the Deutsche Bourse is or has been discussed. I am all for further global penetration but would not want to be the junior partner in this merger. London is the centre and heart-beat of the financial activity. Frankfurt isn’t! Say no more. Xavier Rolet has been a very perceptive brilliant CEO. Provident Financial posted adequate results and the share rose 2.3%. However PF locked out Liberum Capital and Panmure from the analysts’ meeting. Both have been known sellers of the stock. This, by any standards, is unorthodox behaviour.
Mining shares gave back some of yesterday’s gains – down by an average of 4%. Banks have surrendered a smidgen in value – Barclays 1% and RBS 2%. Lloyds and HSBC are unchanged. Drugs are easier by 0.5% and oils by 1%. Of the other companies that reported today – Ladbrokes was up 5%. Analysts were upbeat about the merger with Corals, subject to approval. Persimmon maintained the good results posted by the sector in recent days – +4.5%. Unite was down 3.5% and Croda was up 2.5%.