- BG drops nearly 20 per cent after cutting guidance
- Barclays disappoints with Q3 results
- US markets to re-open following two-day closure
After a stable start, the FTSE 100 had dropped into negative territory by Wednesday lunchtime, with heavy falls from BG Group and Barclays providing a drag on the blue chip index.
US markets are to re-open today under normal opening procedures, according to NYSE Euronext, following a two-day closure due to safety concerns as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which has killed dozens of people and left millions without power on the American East Coast. This was the first time since 1888 that the weather has halted trading for two consecutive days.
Speaking last night, NYSE Euronext's Chief Executive Officer Duncan Niederauer said: "We are pleased to be able to return to normal trading tomorrow. Our building and systems were not damaged and our people have been working diligently to ensure that we have a smooth opening tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and communities suffering in the wake of this terrible natural disaster."
Market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari said: "The first few hours are likely to be manic with the US markets still to factor in corporate earnings from the start of the week and the effects of the hurricane among other things."
Economic data from Asia lifted sentiment early this morning: South Korean industrial output improved for the first time in four months; Taiwan swung back to growth in the most recent quarter; while the unemployment rate in Singapore declined.
Meanwhile, markets will be keeping a close eye on the Eurogroup meeting that takes place today with Greece expected to be high up on the agenda.
Alpari's Erlam said: "The recession has been far deeper than anyone had anticipated or planned for. It looks as though Greece will be granted two extra years to hit its fiscal targets, however this will leave a shortfall of €30bn that will have to be made up in some other way.
"Despite what looks like an urgent matter, the finance ministers are unlikely to come up with any resolution, something we've come to expect in recent years."
FTSE 100: BG plummets after cutting guidance; Barclays unwanted
BG Group shocked the market this morning 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 early on 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.
Shares in oil and gas producer Tullow Oil surged after the firm announcing that its Twiga South-1 exploration well onshore Kenya Block 13T has successfully encountered oil. Sector peer Petrofac was also higher.
High Street fashion and homewares retailer Next also fell after admitting that its sales performance was "volatile" in the third quarter with stronger sales in late September and early October offsetting an unusually quiet start to August.
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.
Higher production at its Esperanza mine helped Chilean copper miner Antofagasta increase output in the third quarter, seeing shares
rise early on.
Mobile phone networks giant Vodafone was in demand after announcing that its NZ$840m (£429m) acquisition of TelstraClear, the New Zealand business of Australian telecoms group Telstra, has now gone through.
FTSE 250: St James's Place rises after Q3 update
Wealth management group St James's Place rose strongly after reporting a 6% increase n 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.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,601.00p +3.42%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,425.00p +3.11%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 163.30p +2.96%
Evraz (EVR) 243.60p +2.40%
Aggreko (AGK) 2,172.00p +2.02%
Resolution Ltd. (RSL) 217.50p +1.78%
Amec (AMEC) 1,076.00p +1.70%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,793.00p +1.64%
Melrose (MRO) 242.10p +1.51%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,285.00p +1.50%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
BG Group (BG.) 1,070.50p -19.48%
Barclays (BARC) 230.50p -3.48%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,610.00p -2.48%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,224.00p -1.81%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 684.50p -1.51%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,348.00p -0.93%
Pennon Group (PNN) 719.00p -0.76%
Serco Group (SRP) 569.50p -0.61%
Wolseley (WOS) 2,729.00p -0.40%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,549.00p -0.39%
FTSE 250 - Risers
St James's Place (STJ) 396.20p +4.35%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 380.20p +4.28%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 137.00p +4.18%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 207.60p +3.80%
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 98.00p +3.65%
IP Group (IPO) 118.90p +3.39%
Afren (AFR) 136.90p +2.85%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 717.00p +2.50%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 768.00p +2.40%
Henderson Group (HGG) 119.50p +2.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,318.00p -4.01%
National Express Group (NEX) 173.00p -2.43%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 111.60p -2.36%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 607.50p -2.02%
Provident Financial (PFG) 1,377.00p -1.92%
Laird (LRD) 209.40p -1.60%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 425.10p -1.46%
Perform Group (PER) 401.10p -1.38%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.05 -1.34%
Bumi (BUMI) 236.10p -1.30%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
AEA Technology Group (AAT) 0.060p +9.09%
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 209.50p +3.20%
Xaar (XAR) 264.50p +1.39%
Vectura Group (VEC) 89.00p +1.14%
Skyepharma (SKP) 85.94p +1.11%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 764.50p +0.92%
Vislink (VLK) 26.50p +0.47%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 982.00p +0.46%
Corin Group (CRG) 57.50p 0.00%
Kofax (KFX) 300.00p 0.00%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Torotrak (TRK) 29.75p -2.46%
RM (RM.) 80.00p -2.44%
Antisoma (ASM) 1.60p -1.54%
Optos (OPTS) 206.75p -1.43%
Innovation Group (TIG) 22.25p -1.11%
NCC Group (NCC) 897.83p -0.79%
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd. (BVC) 15.88p -0.75%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 113.00p -0.44%
Corin Group (CRG) 57.50p 0.00%
Kofax (KFX) 300.00p 0.00%