London Report: Argentina, US and Russia fears weigh on FTSE

FEARS yesterday over Russian sanctions and an Argentinian default, as well as concerns that good GDP figures from the US might push up interest rates brought the FTSE lower.

London’s blue chip index ended the day on 6773.44 points, 0.5 per cent, or 34.31 points, lower.

Among the gainers, Barclays jumped 4.2 per cent to 228.4p after its results came in better than forecast despite the bank taking another £900m provision for compensating customers mis-sold payment protection insurance. Royal Bank of Scotland rose 2.51 per cent to 362.90p.

Travis Perkins was also boosted by results, adding 2.67 per cent to 1,689p as the building materials group reported a 19.4 per cent rise in first half profit.

Drugsmaker Astrazeneca added 0.81 per cent to 4,357.50p after it moved to build up its respiratory drugs business with a $2.1bn deal for the rights to Spanish group Almirali’s lung treatments.

However, Antofagasta fell 4.56 per cent to 816p despite beating forecasts with a near six per cent quarter-on- quarter increase in second quarter copper output to 178,000. Analysts were concerned about the outlook for copper prices.

Other miners also fell. BHP Billiton lost 2.29 per cent to 2,048p, while Rio Tinto was 1.18 per cent lower at 3,434p after selling its Mozambique coal assets at a knock down price.

Among the mid-caps, cable, satel­lite, IPTV products manufacturer Pace dropped 6.77 per cent to 337.40p as Liberum cut its target price from 420p to 390p in the wake of news of the unexpected and immediate departure of its finance director, Roddy Murray. Belinda Ellis, group financial controller at Pace for the past three years, will be acting CFO until further notice.

Comparison site Money­super­ added 1.87 per cent to 185.40p after half year profits rose nine per cent to £94.4m.

Construction group Keller fell 2.52 per cent to 890p after it said it would take a £30m charge relating to a dispute over a project completed in 2008. The charge relates to purported defects in a floor slab at a warehouse, but may be covered by insurance.

Among other movers, British American Tobacco fell 1.23 per cent to 3,523.50p, with the strong British pound and a slight decline in volume hitting its revenue and profit.