Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lloyds Investors' Pain Could Be at an End and Financials Boost Surge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lloyds Investors' Pain Could Be at an End and Financials Boost Surge

Article excerpt

Byline: Rosamund Urwin MARKET ROUND-UP

COULD the pain be over for Lloyds Banking Group's long-suffering investors? The black horse bank's mega [pounds sterling]13.5 billion rights issue closes tomorrow, and while analysts warn the shares could still sink to a fresh low on Monday when the rump is placed, Exane BNP Paribas said today there is a chance they could have hit the bottom already.

They say there is anecdotal evidence that retail shareholders have been less averse to taking up their rights than they were in June to its mere [pounds sterling]4 billion cash call.

BNP's banking expert Ian Gordon reckons the rump placing will have a value of [pounds sterling]1.5 billion. The underwriters are obliged to try to place the rump by Tuesday, although analysts believe they should be able to get it all away by Monday.

Meanwhile, banks may have few friends at the moment, but at least they are sticking together.

Part-taxpayer-owned peer Royal Bank of Scotland advised clients to snap up Lloyds, setting a target price of 100p. RBS, with no trace of irony, says it is now a fan of Lloyds' more conservative balance sheet structure.

Lloyds' shares rose 5p to 571/2p while Royal Bank of Scotland topped the top stocks' winners board, 51/2p higher at 32p, on hopes it will get an early Christmas present in the form of a sale of its remaining Asian operations to HSBC.

A strong showing from the financials pushed shares in London higher, helping offset another sell-off of the heavyweight miners. The FTSE 100 jumped 34.16 points to 5238.05.

Businesses going bust is keeping the boys and girls busy over at Begbies Traynor, the undertaker of the corporate world. Shares in the group leapt 43/4p to 99p as it predicted swathes of company collapses next year and said that first-half results for the six months to November will be "significantly ahead" of the same period last year.

Citigroup, formerly its biggest cheer leader, has turned sour on oil services group Wellstream. …

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