Energy giants stall FTSE’s rise - London Report

BRITAIN’S top equity index yesterday edged down from multi-year highs, with utility Centrica weighing on the market after cutting its dividend.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index, which had risen to a 15-year high of 6,921.32 points on Wednesday, fell 0.1 per cent to 6,888.90 points.

British Gas owner Centrica was the worst-performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, dropping by 8.5 per cent. Weak energy prices hit its annual profits and the company also disappointed by slashing its dividend.

“Centrica is another energy company that is suffering from a low oil price. Also, the fact that they’ve cut their dividend by such an amount will mean that some investors will now look elsewhere for better yields,” said Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover Investments.

Oil prices tumbled on yesterday as US inventories were expected to hit record highs, which put pressure on energy stocks such as Tullow Oil and BP.

BAE Systems rose 0.7 per cent amid optimism over American military spending next year. Aerospace and defence firm Rolls- Royce rose 2.9 per cent after a year of underperformance.

Babcock fell 5.7 per cent after missing out on a military contract which Britain said it would award to Leidos Holdings.