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FTSE ends session slightly lower as oil major BP tumbles

By BFN News | 04:57 PM | Friday 28 May, 2010

END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares closed the session slightly lower, with oil major BP providing the main downforce as it struggles with its spillage problem and miners losing momentum on demand concerns. At the close of business, the FTSE100 was down 6.74 points at 5,188.43 with the FTSE250 off 10.11 points at 9,637.14 and the FTSE Smallcaps 1.15 points lower at 2,748.92. NEW YORK US stocks were firmly lower in late morning trade after disappointing Chicago manufacturing data for May. Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 78 points at 10,181, the S&P500 lost 9 points at 1,094 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20 points to 2,258. LONDON MARKETS The final session before the long weekend break was cautious, with a poor start on Wall Street denting fragile sentiment in the afternoon. Water supplier Severn Trent was a major success story today, gaining 39p at 1,198p, when hiking its full year dividend by 7.4% after a rise in revenue and profits. United Utilities jumped 15p at 539.5p on the read across. The prospect of a resolution to the BA cabin crew strike and a more attractive sterling/euro exchange rate also gave a boost to Thomas Cook, ahead 1.8p at 207.7p and cruise operator Carnival climbed 21p at 2,628p. Hotel operators InterContinental and Whitbread rose 6p at 1,094p and 36p at 1,385p, respectively. Builders merchant Wolseley gained 2p at 1,650p on the back of news that midcap peer Travis Perkins is in advanced talks with plumbing group BSS over a £553m takeover. Travis shares jumped 45.5p at 790.5p. Retailers were on the shopping list, despite a dip in consumer confidence, with DIY operators in demand ahead of the weekend break which they hope boosts footfall. B&Q owner Kingfisher added 3.3p at 223.7p and Homebase owner Home Retail Group gained 4.9p at 252p. Marks & Spencer rose 8.8p at 353.7p after a glowing reference from UBS where it was upgraded to buy from neutral, with the target price increased to 400p from 350p. Meanwhile, British Airways edged down 2.7p at 201.2p as talks of resolving the cabin crew dispute resumed, with the current strike ending at midnight tonight and the next threatened walkout due to begin on Sunday. Miners weakened in the afternoon session, although gold and silver miner Fresnillo jumped 21p at 904p after reporting soaring annual profits and record silver production. Banking issues also lost their way late in the day, with Standard Chartered the worst performer of the sector, sliding 45p at 1,637p as it struggles to find buyers for its stock sale in India. Barclays was down 3.8p at 305.1p, while Lloyds eased 0.28p at 56.62p and Royal Bank of Scotland shed 0.04p at 46.73p. Insurer Prudential slipped 6p at 541.5p as it confirmed it is in talks with AIG to renegotiate the price of its proposed acquisition of AIA. An element of profit-taking pulled hedge fund manager Man Group down 5.5p at 232.8p, while Schroders fell 15p at 1,329p. Both made substantial gains in the previous session. Oil producer BP was the worst blue chip performer of the day; still struggling to shut off the Gulf of Mexico spillage, and with the estimated costs of the disaster reported as approaching £700m. BP tumbled 26p at 494.8p. Story provided by Business Financial Newswire

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