Belfast Telegraph

Royal Bank of Scotland shares race ahead amid reports of cuts

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland raced ahead on Monday as investors cheered reports that the bank was on the cusp of making £1 billion of cuts.

RBS was up more than 2%, or 5.7p, to 234.6p after the Sunday Times said the embattled lender would slash 15,000 jobs as it braces for a ninth consecutive year of losses.

The FTSE 100 rose 20.17 points to 7,278.92, with Lloyds Banking Group edging up 0.2p to 65.9p and Barclays climbing 3.7p to 232.4p.

Neil Wilson, senior market analyst, said RBS had already trimmed costs by around £1 billion a year for the past three years.

"Ultra-low interest rates and looming fines mean there isn't a lot left for RBS except to cut costs.

"A fresh commitment to slash costs to the bone is what investors are looking for as we still have the prospect of a giant fine for mis-selling of residential mortgage-backed securities in the US before the financial crisis."

Elsewhere on the top tier, mining giants led the charge after copper prices surged following a strike at the world's largest copper mine in Escondida, Chile.

Anglo American jumped to the top of the biggest risers, up 4% or 57p to 1,409.5p, while Glencore and Rio Tinto pushed up by 8.2p to 328.9p and 107p to 3,679.5p respectively.

Across Europe, the Cac 40 in France surged 1.3% higher and Germany's Dax climbed 0.9%.

On the currency markets, the pound was marginally ahead against the US dollar at 1.250 and up 0.5% versus the euro at 1.178 .

Connor Campbell, financial analyst, said the pound was edging higher as investors looked ahead to Tuesday's inflation figures

"Sterling seems to have its eyes firmly locked on tomorrow's UK inflation reading, which analysts are expecting to near the Bank of England's targeted 2%.

"The prospect of such an upward CPI swing, and the potential ramifications this has for a BoE rate hike, has helped the pound hold off the dollar while nabbing nearly half a percent in growth from the euro."

The price of oil was down 2% after rising US crude output overshadowed an Opec report showing high compliance with its deal to slash production.

Brent crude was down a dollar and 15 cents to 55.55 US dollars a barrel despite major oil producer Saudi Arabia making a large cut to its crude output in January, boosting the cartel's compliance to more than 90%.

Opec is aiming to reduce production by around 1.2 million barrels a day to a total of 32.5 million barrels a day this year.

In UK stocks, Capita was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100 after ending a contractual dispute with the Co-operative Bank.

Shares were down more than 2%, or 12.5p, to 513.5p after it said it would continue providing mortgage administration services, but work on an IT system transformation would end.

It came as bosses at the Co-op Bank put the troubled lender up for sale as concerns mount over its capital position.

The bank, which has four million customers, said its ability to meet longer-term UK bank regulatory capital requirements has been hampered by low interest rates and higher than anticipated transformation and "conduct remediation" costs.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American up 57p to 1,409.5p, Rio Tinto up 107p to 3,679.5p, Glencore up 8.2p to 328.9p, and Royal Bank of Scotland up 5.7p to 234.6p.

The biggest fallers were Capita down 12.5p to 513.5p, Fresnillo down 31p to 1,524p, Direct Line Insurance down 7.3p to 360.7p, and Marks and Spencer down 6.7p to 335.1p.