Bank stocks are taking a hit this morning amid speculation the Bank of England will keep interest ra...
Bank stocks are taking a hit this morning amid speculation the Bank of England will keep interest rates steady over the coming months.
HSBC and Barclays were the biggest movers in the FTSE 100's 33.50 points fall to 4001.80.
HSBC fell 9.5p or 1.3% to 698p while Barclays lost 8.75p or 2% to 438.5p, along with Lloyds TSB Group which has so far fallen 16p or 2.9% to 540p because of concerns over its Scottish Widows unit.
Value in Aberdeen Asset Management has risen 1.5p or 2.7% to 57.5p, after the Guardian this morning revealed AAM and German investment bank WestLB Panmure are being scrutinized by Britain's Financial Services Authority.
British Energy has lost 0.75p or 8.6% to 8p this morning as the flailing power company will not get any further government help with its loan payments, said yesterday's Independent on Sunday.
Maker of animal feed and agricultural equipment, Carr's Milling Industries has managed to climb 13p or 6.1% to 226.5p as record sales of farm machinery boosted full-year profit by 74%.
Hamleys, the Regent Street toy store, also climbed 4.5p or 2.8% to 166p. It managed to turn a profit again after closing the unprofitable Toystack chain.
Elsewhere in the world, the threat of war with Iraq has knocked confidence in trading, and weakened the dollar. Asian stocks such as Sony and Samsung see these signs as an indication of lower exports and have dragged indices down as a result.
Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 2.7% to 8460.37 and fell to a one-month low with the Nikkei 225 index. Sony felt the worst of its as it slid 5% to Y4,930 because a 1-yen gain against the dollar cuts between Y6bn and Y8bn off its annual operating profit. Samsung Electronics also lost 2.9% to won349,000 on the Kospi.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 189.8 points or 1.9% to 9580.88 and the TWSE had its biggest drop since October, slumping 3% to 4664.65 while the Straits Times fell 1.5% to 1404.39.
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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