- Markets react to shooting down of Malaysia Airlines plane
- Gaza fighting also weighing on sentiment
- Shire and AbbVie strike £32bn takeover deal
- UK competition watchdog orders banking probe
techMARK 2,787.48 -0.41%
FTSE 100 6,706.45 -0.47%
FTSE 250 15,448.43 -0.68%
Global geopolitical tensions were weighing on UK stocks on Friday following the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine.
Leaders from across the world have demanded answers after the shooting down of the jet, with 298 people on board. While Ukraine has claimed that pro-Moscow rebels were behind the attack, Russia's Defence Ministry has pointed the finger at Ukrainian ground forces.
Meanwhile, news that the Israeli military has sent ground troops into Gaza to fight with Palestinian militants also dampened sentiment this morning.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.5% at 6,706 by midday as indices across Europe tracked declines on Wall Street and Asia overnight.
However, losses this morning have not been as severe as some might have expected. Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari UK said: "What I think is preventing any significant sell-off is the uncertainty around what comes next. It is unlikely that nothing will be done in response to the passenger plane being shot down by, what appears to be, the pro-Russian rebels occupying areas of eastern Ukraine."
In other news, the President of the St Louis Fed James Bullard said that the central bank may have to move sooner than expected to raise interest rates on the back of an improvement in economic data. "If macroeconomic conditions continue to improve at the current pace, the normalisation process may need to begin sooner rather than later," he said yesterday.
Shire gains after AbbVie tie-up
US drug company AbbVie is taking over Shire in a deal valuing the UK group at £32bn, the pair said on Friday, causing shares
in the latter to rise. AbbVie has agreed to offer £53.19 a share for Shire, representing a premium of about 53% to the Shire share price of £34.67 on May 2nd, which was the last day before AbbVie made the first of its five offers for Shire.
Airlines IAG was making gains this morning as shares recovered after a sharp fall yesterday immediately after the Malaysia Airlines crash. A spokeswoman for IAG-owned British Airways said BA aircraft were not using Ukrainian airspace with the exception of the airline's daily flight between London and Kiev, which is not near the crash site. She said the airline was keeping the route under review.
Banks such as RBS, Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC were all lower after the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) said that British banks' personal current accounts and small business banking were "not working well for customers". The CMA said it had provisionally decided to consult on plans for "a joined up in-depth market investigation" into the industry.
Housebuilder Barratt Developments was leading the fallers on the FTSE 100 after Liberum downgraded the stock to 'hold' and slashed its target price from 468p to 387p.
ITV continued to extend gains after a big jump yesterday as investors continued to react to bid speculation following the purchase of a 6.4% stake in the broadcaster by Liberty Global.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,885.00p +1.64%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,903.00p +0.90%
Hammerson (HMSO) 601.00p +0.59%
ITV (ITV) 196.00p +0.46%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 5,025.00p +0.40%
British Land Co (BLND) 703.50p +0.36%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,440.00p +0.35%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,554.00p +0.29%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 900.00p +0.28%
Pearson (PSON) 1,112.00p +0.27%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 353.90p -2.67%
Royal Mail (RMG) 460.30p -2.06%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 317.20p -2.01%
GKN (GKN) 347.30p -1.98%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,080.00p -1.73%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,176.00p -1.67%
Old Mutual (OML) 197.80p -1.59%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 2,625.00p -1.54%
Kingfisher (KGF) 334.60p -1.53%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,098.00p -1.52%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 313.00p +3.30%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 163.10p +2.58%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 48.28p +2.31%
Debenhams (DEB) 64.95p +1.72%
Exova Group (EXO) 239.10p +1.31%
Berendsen (BRSN) 1,016.00p +1.30%
Man Group (EMG) 119.50p +1.19%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,729.00p +1.17%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,271.00p +1.11%
Rank Group (RNK) 163.30p +1.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Renishaw (RSW) 1,516.00p -3.75%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 133.00p -3.55%
ITE Group (ITE) 218.00p -3.50%
Foxtons Group (FOXT) 260.30p -3.23%
AL Noor Hospitals Group (ANH) 1,010.00p -2.79%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 253.20p -2.62%
AO World (AO.) 223.20p -2.53%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 234.90p -2.49%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,083.00p -2.43%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 746.50p -2.42%