Belfast Telegraph

Barclays shares hit as traders take dim view of results

The bank swung to a loss as profits were hit by a settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Barclays sank towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 on Thursday as it booked a loss on the back of payment protection insurance (PPI) charges and a £1.4 billion settlement with the US authorities.

Barclays swung to a loss in the first quarter, reporting a pre-tax loss of £236 million for the three months to March 31, having reported profits of £1.68 billion in the same period last year.

The bank’s shares fell by 1.41% or 3p, closing the day at 210p, making it one of biggest fallers on London’s blue-chip index.

The FTSE 100 climbed 42.11 points to 7,421.43. The pound was flat against the US dollar at 1.392. Against the euro, sterling was up 0.38% to 1.149.

Brent crude prices pushed higher again, rising by 0.34% to 74.310 US dollars per barrel.

In UK stocks, shares in Taylor Wimpey dipped after the housebuilder reported a slowdown in sales and build rates, which were partly affected by extreme weather in March.

In a trading update covering the first four months of the year, the group said the value of its order book fell 2.5% to £2.16 billion. Shares closed the day down 2.8p at 190.05p.

Royal Dutch Shell posted its highest quarterly profit for at least three years thanks to resurgent oil prices. However, its shares closed the day down 26p at 2,502.5p.

The oil giant reported a 42% rise in underlying quarterly profits to 5.3 billion US dollars (£3.8 billion) for the first three months of the year.

Oil giant BP named energy industry veteran Helge Lund as its next chairman, succeeding Carl-Henric Svanberg. Following the announcement, shares rose 11.3p to 535.3p.

Mr Lund – who has previously headed BG Group and was a longstanding chief executive at Statoil – will join BP’s board as chairman-designate and a non-executive director on September 1 before taking on the role of chairman on January 1 next year.

In energy, Britain’s competition watchdog said the merger between energy giants Npower and SSE could reduce competition and lead to higher prices for some households.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would refer the deal for a full-blown investigation unless the two Big Six providers can address its concerns. Traders appeared unfazed, with SSE’s shares rising by 20.5p to 1,358p by the market close.

In retail stocks, Simply Be owner N Brown’s profits slumped after the company was forced to pay out millions in compensation to customers over its flawed insurance products.

Statutory profits at N Brown, the company behind retail brands such as JD Williams and Jacamo, fell 72% to £16.2 million.

However, with results coming in ahead of expectations, the retailer’s share price rose 8.5% or 16.5p to 210.4p.

Embattled retailer Carpetright won the backing of creditors and landlords for a restructuring plan that will spark store closures and hundreds of job losses. Shares ended the session up 1p to 39p.

Carpetright has earmarked 81 stores for closure as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which allows firms to shut loss-making outlets and secure rent reductions.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz up 27.9p to 449.4p, United Utilities up 22.8p to 737.6p, Severn Trent up 56p to 1925.5p, and British American Tobacco up 115.5p to 3,965.5p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Legal & General down 11.3p to 267.1p, Fresnillo down 26p to 1,251p, Glencore down 7.15p to 370.05p and Direct Line down 5.6p to 369.1p.

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