London’s leading index ended another volatile week deep in the red again as Britain’s biggest banks wobbled ahead of a key report on sector reform.
The FTSE 100 Index fell 2%, or 125.7 points at 5,214.7 today as brokers warned the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB)’s final report, which is due to be published on Monday, would severely impact the industry.
Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) fell sharply after Goldman Sachs highlighted the banks as the pair most at risk from the ICB reforms. Barclays fell 15p to £1.44 and RBS shed 1.2p to 21.5p.
Lloyds Banking Group, which is expected to be told by the ICB to sell more branches than the 632 imposed by the EU, dropped 1.9p to 34p.
Car insurer Admiral saw its shares fall nearly 5%, or 57p to £13.07 after the UK Government said the payment of referral fees in personal injury cases was to be banned in a bid to tackle rising insurance costs.
Grim trading conditions for retailers continued to unnerve investors, particularly after broker Barclays Capital downgraded a number of stocks.
They included Home Retail Group, whose shares fell 11p to 106.8p, while department store Debenhams was off 2.3p at 53.5p and Halfords lost 7.4p to 277.1p.
Difficult trading conditions have also impacted on pub chain JD Wetherspoon, whose shares were down 45, or 18p to £3.98 after it reported a 6% drop in full-year profits.
Back in the top flight, Tullow Oil jumped 15%, or £1.86 to £14.13 after it announced a major oil discovery off French Guiana.
Elaine McLachlan, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Inverness, noted Nautical Petroleum up 10.9% to 273.6p, Superglass recovering 7.7% to 3.3p and Plexus Holdings gaining 4% to 79p.
Aberdeen Asset Management fell 4.6% to 190.8p and Standard Life was 4.5% lower at 190.2p.