Belfast Telegraph

Merkel win fails to boost markets

European markets have made a cautious start to the week despite Angela Merkel's convincing success in securing a third term as Germany's Chancellor.

Mrs Merkel received a strong endorsement of her handling of the European economic crisis but the failure of her current coalition allies, the pro-business Free Democrats, meant she will have to work with leftist rivals to form a coalition government.

The uncertainty meant the Dax opened lower in Frankfurt, while the FTSE 100 Index also drifted - off 21.25p to 6575.2 - as some of the excitement over last week's Federal Reserve surprise tapering decision began to fade.

In corporate news, British Gas owner Centrica fell by 5.2p to 397p after it said it would take a £240 million hit on its decision to shelve two huge gas storage projects in East Yorkshire and the North Sea.

It blamed the decision on weak economics and the Government's failure to subsidise new gas storage facilities. The move will leave the UK increasingly reliant on imported gas, with only around 15 days of gas supply in storage.

Shares in Irn-Bru drinks company AG Barr improved 4p to 529p after it reported a drop in half-year profits due to the costs associated with its failed merger attempt with rival Britvic. However, the Cumbernauld-based company raised its dividend by 8% and said it was confident of meeting expectations for the full year.

Britvic shares jumped 4% or 25p to 579.5p.