The turbulence of the week is clearly reflected in today's trading on the UK benchmark index as the ...
The turbulence of the week is clearly reflected in today's trading on the UK benchmark index as the FTSE 100 lost almost 100 points and ended the week 2.5% down, while the price of crude oil dropped to a near two-year low.
Oil companies such as BP and Shell dropped valuable ground thanks to a fall in the price of oil which kept it floating around a two-year low, pushing the FTSE 100 down 98.3 points or 1.9% to 5017.70 points.
BP lost 24.5p or 4.3% to 544.5p while Shell - which owns 40% of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group - fell 23.5p or 4.5% to 500.5p, and between them wiped 33 points off the FTSE 100 index.
Huntingdon Life Sciences, the company which conducts pharmaceutical testing on animals and is a prime target for animal rights activists, has lost another 24% to 3.25p, extending yesterday's 15% loss, sparked by a report in the FT that its marketmaker Fleet Securities would no longer act for them.
One of the few companies that did make important gains was E-primefinancial, which is preparing to open an internet retail bank in the US. Its own price gained 10% to 2.75p after it was revealed yesterday that the chief executive Gene Grant has called an extraordinary shareholders meeting to consider dissolving the company and returning its assets to shareholders. Grant was defeated on a similar proposal in August.
Over in the US, things looked fairly bleak by the London close as more negative earnings forecasts disappointed investors and pushed indices down.
Signs of the global slowdown are now forcing many investment firms to cut growth forecasts and reassess ratings as regularly as twice a month, the most susceptible this time being the petroleum and oil stocks.
Despite news from the US government of a 0.4% rise in consumer prices last month, the Down Jones Industrial Average fell 54.66 points or 0.6% to 9108.56, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 20.70 points or 1.3% to 1632.02.
Providian and PMC-Sierra - both normally strong financial firms - reported their next quarter earnings will both be down by 75% because consumers are likely to be unable to pay their credit card bills.
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