The resumption of trading on Wall Street after a two-day closure and a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers was enough to weigh on London's stock market on Wednesday, not to mention some sharp falls from heavy hitters BG Group and Barclays.
US benchmarks re-opened in the red today after Hurricane Sandy left millions without power and killed dozens on the American East Coast. This was the first time since 1888 that the weather has halted trading for two consecutive days.
Market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari said this afternoon: "There are no real surprises to what we have seen since the markets opened in the US. Insurance companies are trading lower following the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. It is too early to tell at this point what the cost of the damage will be to insurance companies, but early estimates suggest it could be up to $15 billion, severely damaging fourth-quarter profits."
On this side of the Atlantic, Eurozone finance ministers today urged Greek leaders "to solve remaining issues so as to swiftly finalise the negotiations [with the Troika]," according to Eurogroup head and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reportedly said that it is unlikely that the Troika will receive the final report on Greece before the next Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers on November 11-12th. That means that traders will have to wait a little bit longer for any possible solution to the current impasse in Greece.
Meanwhile, in perhaps the most specific reference to the timing of a full bailout request, Spanish government sources have told local radio station SER that a request for international aid should not be expected this year.
FTSE 100: BG dives after slashing production guidance
BG Group shocked the market today by cutting back production guidance as a result of a number of delays to project start-ups. It now expects full-year production will be just 3% higher than in 2011, while 2013 output is not expected to show any growth at all.
The firm also announced that it would be selling 40% of certain interest in its Queensland Curtis LNG project in Australia for $1.93bn, as well as a sale of LNG from its global LNG portfolio. Seymour Pierce analyst Sam Wahab however noted that the group currently has an asset divestment programme to reduce net debt exposure, and thinks the sudden announcement of the disposal "would suggest that the disposal of their Australian LNG interest was forced upon them rather than a strategic decision."
UK banking giant Barclays dropped despite meeting forecasts in the third quarter with strong growth seen in adjusted pre-tax profits, from £1.34bn to £1.73bn. The firm however revealed new "legal and regulatory matters" which include two new probes in the US.
Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline's third-quarter figures came in short of expectations on most fronts, while full-year sales are now expected to be little changed from 2011. Against expectations of earnings per share (EPS) of 28.7p, Glaxo delivered 26.5p, down 13% year-on-year or down 11% on a constant exchange rates
in oil and gas producer Tullow Oil surged after the firm announced that its Twiga South-1 exploration well onshore Kenya Block 13T has successfully encountered oil. Sector peer Petrofac was also higher.
Life assurance company Standard Life gained after saying inflows across its long-term savings businesses plus a strong performance at Standard Life Investments helped to increase both group assets under administration and Standard Life Investments third party assets to record levels.
International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) gained back some of its losses made earlier this week as the passing of Hurricane Sandy made it once again possible to operate trans-Atlantic routes.
FTSE 250: St James's Place rises on FuM increase
Wealth management group St James's Place rose strongly after reporting a 6% increase in funds under management (FuM) in the third quarter as it reported good growth in new business despite the continuing macroeconomic uncertainty.
Energy company Essar was higher after gaining permission to chop down trees close to its Mahan coal block.
Afren, the energy firm focused in Africa and the Middle East, rose after announcing that it has seen the flow of first oil at its Okoro field extension, off the coast of south east Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Go-Ahead Group and National Express were both taking a hit, which may be linked to the numerous reports coming out of the US which state there have been significant disruptions to transport in the hurricane-hit country, where both companies operate. There have been no confirmed reports of either vehicle or equipment damage.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,604.00p +3.62%
Standard Life (SL.) 292.00p +2.24%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 218.30p +2.15%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,400.00p +2.07%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 161.30p +1.70%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,404.00p +1.59%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,919.00p +1.48%
Kingfisher (KGF) 289.50p +1.26%
Pearson (PSON) 1,245.00p +1.06%
Melrose (MRO) 241.00p +1.05%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BG Group (BG.) 1,147.50p -13.69%
Barclays (BARC) 227.50p -4.73%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,201.00p -2.83%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 709.00p -2.81%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,606.00p -2.73%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 677.00p -2.59%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,386.50p -2.36%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 327.70p -2.03%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,903.00p -1.76%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 276.00p -1.71%
FTSE 250 - Risers
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 99.00p +4.71%
St James's Place (STJ) 397.00p +4.56%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 208.90p +4.45%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 136.90p +4.11%
Afren (AFR) 137.70p +3.46%
Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 411.50p +3.00%
IP Group (IPO) 118.20p +2.78%
Elementis (ELM) 209.30p +2.50%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 373.00p +2.30%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 714.00p +2.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 256.50p -5.49%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,298.00p -5.46%
Man Group (EMG) 78.45p -4.50%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 143.70p -4.14%
National Express Group (NEX) 170.20p -4.00%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 110.50p -3.32%
ITE Group (ITE) 193.20p -3.11%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 456.60p -2.85%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 134.00p -2.76%
Halfords Group (HFD) 345.60p -2.59%