Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barclays Leads the Way as Banks Ignore Bonuses Row

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barclays Leads the Way as Banks Ignore Bonuses Row

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

BANKS today brushed aside the bonuses row to post some useful gains on the back of better-than-expected results from Barclays, which led bluechips higher with a rise of 10.5p to 115.3p.

There is not much good news from the banking sector these days, so investors are happy to make the most of it when some comes along. Barclays brought forward its results by a couple of weeks to allay speculation it may be forced to turn to the Government for extra funding.

Lloyds Banking, up 4.5p at 109.5p, Royal Bank of Scotland, 1.1p better at 25.1p and HSBC, 43/4p lower at 5443/4p, are due to report in the next few weeks.

Shares generally were unable to build upon last week's gains, with investors disappointed no agreements had been reached on President Obama's stimulus package for the US economy. The FTSE 100 index, which rose almost 150 points last week, was 11.8 lower at 4280.0.

Hammerson jumped 28p to 425p after the property developer confirmed plans to raise [pounds sterling]584 million through a heavily discounted seven-for-five rights issue at 150p. It wants the cash to reduce debts, having failed to raise funds by selling off assets. The City is now waiting to see which other property developers will go cap in hand to shareholders for more money. Top of the speculators' list are British Land, 'p dearer at 455p, and Liberty International, 3/4p better at 377p.

Housebuilders may also be forced to tap shareholders at some stage, if they fail to strike deals with the banks over the high levels of debt brought on by the collapse of the housing market.

Persimmon fell 8'p to 332-p, Redrow lost 33/4p at 150-p and Bellway dropped 1p to 668'p. Taylor Wimpey, 1p better at 19-p, is continuing to talk to the banks about restructuring its debt of more than [pounds sterling]1.6 billion. The company's stock-market value is less than [pounds sterling]200 million.

Anglo-Swiss mining giant Xstrata retreated 4p to 798'p after announcing plans to restructure its Sudbury nickel operations in Canada in response, cutting 686 jobs. The company said the Fraser Mine Complex will be placed on care and maintenance, the Strathcona Mill will cut shifts and the Fraser Morgan development project will be deferred. …

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