Belfast Telegraph

FTSE hit again over oil prices and BT boss news

By Roger Baird

London's top flight shares index dropped deeper into the red as it digested further falls in the oil price and the possible departure of BT's well-respected finance director.

The telecoms giant has stepped up the search for a new group finance director after revealing Tony Chanmugam - who first took up his post in 2008 - "may step down later this year".

The FTSE 100 Index fell 2.7% or 158.7 points to 5,689.3 yesterday, meaning the index has now fallen 9% since the start of the year.

Germany's DAX and the Cac 40 in France were both down more than 3%.

Global markets have suffered a torrid start to the year, due to a slowdown in emerging markets and oil price falls. Brent crude fell just under half a US dollar to $33.69 a barrel.

The pound was slightly down against the US dollar at 1.43, as traders still reacted to last week's US jobs data which will further strengthen the dollar if a second rates hike follows.

The US Federal Reserve raised rates for the first time in almost a decade in December.

Sterling was marginally down against the euro at just under 1.29.

In stocks, BT was down more than 4%, or 21.1p to 454.8p, after it confirmed it had begun the search to replace Mr Chanmugam.

It added: "BT confirms that a search process has commenced to find a successor, but that no formal decision has been taken on a replacement or around the potential timing of any change."

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