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Aberdeen deal lights up FTSE 100

Aberdeen Asset Management lit up London's blue-chip share index after it struck a major deal with Lloyds, sparking life into financial sector stocks.

It came as wider market performance was boosted by encouraging figures showing better-than-expected growth in the eurozone's trade surplus during September.

The FTSE 100 Index was up 30 points to 6723.5, while the Dax in Frankfurt hit record highs and France's Cac 40 was also in positive territory.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at record heights too, buoyed by the prospects of billions of dollars of asset purchases continuing to be pumped into the economy by the US Federal Reserve in the form of quantitative easing.

On currency markets, sterling was flat against the greenback at 1.61 US dollars, and against the single currency at 1.19 euros.

In London, fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management set a blistering pace in the top flight, up nearly 15% or 62.9p to 489.7p, after it struck a long-awaited deal with Lloyds Banking Group to buy its asset management arm.

The acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership is worth up to £660 million and will see Lloyds take a stake of almost 10% in Aberdeen. Lloyds rose 0.8p to 76.2p after also agreeing a long-term strategic partnership with Aberdeen.

The latest rise in the Lloyds share price is good news for chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio as he will qualify for a long-term bonus worth £2.3 million if shares close above 73.6p on Wednesday.

However Mr Horta-Osorio will not be able to sell them until 2018 under the company's incentive scheme.

Other financial stocks were also on the front foot, with Royal Bank of Scotland up 3.3p to 333.3p, Standard Chartered ahead 26p to 1482p and Barclays 2p higher at 251.4p.

British Airways and Iberia owner International Airlines Group initially climbed after brokers UBS and Nomura upgraded their guidance on the stock, but ended 0.2p off at 362p.

In other corporate news, shares in BT Group were 2.2p higher at 382p after it announced that Liv Garfield, who is the head of the company's Openreach division, is to become chief executive of water company Severn Trent.

She will become the youngest female boss of a FTSE 100 company when she replaces Tony Wray at the helm. Shares in Severn fell 2p to 1828p.

The biggest faller in the top flight was Petrofac after the energy services firm said net income for next year would show "flat to modest growth" and warned that targets for 2015 were dependent on the timing of certain contracts.

Shares slumped 17% or 239p to 1200p.

Outside the top flight, fall protection systems firm Latchways slipped 8% or 108.5p to 1299p after it said short-term budgetary constraints among its largest utility customers would leave full-year results below City hopes.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Aberdeen Asset Management, up 62.9p to 489.7p, Vedanta Resources up 33p to 988.5p, Standard Chartered up 26p to 1482p and ARM Holdings up 15.5p to 959.5p.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Petrofac, down 239p to 1200p, Fresnillo, down 26p to 915.5p, Randgold Resources down 54p to 4532p and CRH, down 17p to 1574p.


From Belfast Telegraph