Belfast Telegraph

Focus on Barclays after cash-call

The spotlight fell on blue chip Barclays today as its secured strong take-up for its mammoth £5.8 billion City fundraising.

The banking giant reported 94.6% take-up for the shares in the offer - the largest in the City since 2009 - with the remainder offered in the wider market by underwriters.

But trading remained cautious on the FTSE 100 Index, closing up 4.8 points at 6453.9, with America's partial government shutdown continuing.

As well as the current shutdown of non-essential government services, lawmakers have to agree an increase in the debt ceiling by October 17 to avoid the economy defaulting on its debt payments.

But there was a glimmer of hope as senior Republicans in Congress have begun shifting away from their attempt to undercut President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms toward a broader budget deal that could include raising the debt ceiling.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street was around 30 points higher in early session trading.

In currency markets, the pound fell for the second straight session as it continues to pull-back after hitting year highs against the dollar earlier this week.

Sterling fell to 1.61 dollars and edged down slightly to just over 1.18 euros.

Barclays shares were 1.7p lower at 271.4p as the market swallowed the 5% of shares not taken up in the rights issue.

Laws in China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Africa are thought to have prevented some investors from taking up their rights.

The fundraising is part of t he company's plan to address the City regulator's demands that it plugs a £12.8 billion hole in its finances by next year.

Meanwhile, shares in floor coverings retailer Carpetright dived 8% or 3.9p to 306.6p after it issued a shock profits warning and said chief executive Darren Shapland had been replaced by founder Lord Harris of Peckham.

Lowering expectations for group profits in the year to April, Lord Harris said conditions in the UK were volatile, while trading in the Netherlands has been "extremely difficult".

N+1 Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said today's warning came as a "huge surprise", with profit forecasts set to fall to around £10 million

The update came as a blow to other DIY-based retail stocks, with B&Q owner Kingfisher the biggest faller in the FTSE 100 Index with a decline of 11p to 369p.

In the wider retail sector, Next was 50p lower at 5090p and supermarket chain Tesco dropped 3.5p to 361.5p.

Elsewhere in the top flight, food ingredients firm Tate & Lyle rose 6p to 745p after it said its second quarter performance met expectations despite earlier softness in the US drinks sector.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Standard Life up 8.7p to 354.1p, GKN 8.4p ahead at 352.9p, Royal Bank of Scotland 6.5p higher at 373.2p and ITV up 3p to 178.5p.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Kingfisher down 11p to 369p, Aggreko off 37p to 1442p, Petrofac 21p lower at 1380p and Sage down 4.9p at 329p.