After the record high FTSE falls on Weir warning - London Report

THE FTSE 100 yesterday retreated from the previous session’s record high, with engineer Weir Group leading the market lower after warning about a significant drop in its revenue in the current year.

The blue chip index closed down 14.25 points, or 0.2 per cent at 6,935.38 points after setting a new record high of 6,958.89 points on Tuesday. That surpassed its previous high of 6,950.60 set on 30 December 1999.

Weir Group, which makes valves and pumps for the energy and mining industries, fell 8.7 per cent to 1,700p to the bottom of the blue-chip FTSE 100 index after saying uncertainty in the oil and gas industry would sign­ificant­ly reduce its revenue despite cost-cutting.

“People have been talking about inevitable cutbacks in oil exploration for quite along time, and you would have thought that those companies with exposure to the sector would have already been on investor radar screens,” Jeremy Batstone-Carr, mar­ket analyst at Charles Stanley, said.

Among other sharp movers, mid-cap AO World slumped 31.7 per cent to 192p after the British online domestic appliances retailer cut its full-year earnings outlook as the boost around the company’s flotation faded.

Kurdistan-focused oil explorer Gulf Keystone shot up 54.93 per cent to 55p after reports emerged that it was up for sale. In earlier trading, it soared 71 per cent.

Whitbread rose 2.7 per cent to 5,245p after saying it expected to post full-year profit towards the top end of market forecasts, as strong demand at its Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee chain helped to deliver a 5.8 per cent rise in fourth-quarter underlying sales.

Wealth manager St James’s Place rose four per cent to 930p after it reported a 29 per cent rise in annual profits and said it was well placed to continue its growth this year.

Supermarket Morrisons lifted 0.57 per cent to 192.90p after it confirmed the appointment of former Tesco executive David Potts as its chief executive from next month.

Shares in rival Tesco were 1.05 per cent stronger at 240.90p and Sains­bury’s added 0.63 per cent to 271.70p.

Outside the top flight, Superdry owner SuperGroup dropped 3.85 per cent to 975p as it emerged that its chief financial officer Shaun Wills had left the role in the wake of being declared bankrupt.

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