Poor results from Abbey National have hammered the banking sector this morning, dragging back the FT...
Poor results from Abbey National have hammered the banking sector this morning, dragging back the FTSE 100 index by about 2 points to 4,919, despite a strong surge by tobacco stocks on the back of bid speculation.
Gallaher is up by 33p, or nearly 6% to 683p after news BAT might put in a £5.3bn bid for the company after an EU court overturned a merger veto in a test case, opening the possibility that a bid would not be blocked by competition authorities.
Abbey lost 103p to 904p, a more than 10% loss after it said earning expectations had to be substantially cut.
That made it the biggest loser in the index, and helped pull down HBOS by 27p to 785p, RBOS down by 35p to £19.50, Northern Rock down by 12p to 706p, and Alliance & Leicester by 11.5p to 845.5p.
Among the surprise gainers was BA after low cost airline Ryanair said its full-year income rose 44% last year on the back of increased travel.
The momentum spread to BA, which gained 6p to 201.25p.
It has also spurred on Ryanair competitor Easyjet by 5p to 483p to make it one of the top performers in the FTSE 250 index this morning - the index is up nearly 3 points to 5,965.
That index is otherwise led by chemicals and metals specialist Johnson Matthey, which is up 39p to £11.79 as precious metals prices continue to climb.
Other indices are down this morning, as Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index is off by nearly 70 points to 11,370, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng is down by 2 points at 11,282.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 34.97 at 9,589.67 on Friday, as Nasdaq's Composite lost 19.40 to 1,535.48.
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