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UPDATE: Anglo American fails to lift FTSE 100 as Carroll calls it quits

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There were only a handful of risers on the UK’s top share index today as yesterday’s mini-rally proved to be short-lived.

Anglo American boss Cynthia Carroll (LON:AAL) gave the mining giant’s share price a 3.3% boost on an otherwise gloomy day for the FTSE 100 by announcing her departure.

The UK’s leading index lifted after a poor start to stand six points higher at 5,811.

Carroll, who has led Anglo since March 2007, said she felt the time was right to call it a day, but will remain in her post until a successor has been appointed.

Carroll’s departure leaves just two female FTSE 100 chief executives – Angela Ahrendts from Burberry (LON:BRBY) and Alison Cooper at Imperial Tobacco (LON:IMT).

The news is likely to reignite the debate on women in top jobs just weeks after Pearson (LON:PSON) announced boss Dame Marjorie Scardino, who became the first ever female chief executive of a FTSE 100 firm back in 1997, is on the way out.

Interestingly, Pearson was also one of the few climbers after unveiling what could be Scardino’s final word at the publisher.

Its shares were waddling along nicely today, up 0.7% on the news it is in talks to merge its publishing house Penguin with rival Random House.

Copper miner Kazakhmys (LON:KAZ) was the biggest faller, shedding another 2.8% after yesterday’s third quarter results despite no change to its full-year guidance.

Fellow miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES) tracked it down after rising yesterday on the approval of the feasibility study at its San Julian silver project.

Other notable fallers were ARM Holdings (LON:ARM), which lost more than 2% on the back of the news sales of Apple’s iPads are slowing down.

Prudential (LON:PRU) also lost just over 2% after S&P threatened to downgrade its credit rating to the lowest level since it began covering the life insurance firm.

Outside the top flight, ASOS (LON:ASC) shares suffered after its directors dumped their shares in the online retailer.

Trinity Mirror (LON:TNI) shares slumped 11% today as the hacking allegations against the publisher’s papers, the Sunday Mirror, Mirror and People, pick up speed.

In macro news, it emerged that Greek debt will be above the target of 120 per cent of GDP in eight years, a preliminary report by the International Monetary Fund showed on Thursday.

US Markets

The mood across the Atlantic was sombre as stock futures on Wall Street fell as technology giants Apple and Amazon reported disappointing earnings.

Dow Jones futures were down 106 points, while the broader S&P 500 futures were down 10.1 points, and the Nasdaq futures were down 12.75 points.

Apple posted Q4 Ipad sales, which were well below analyst forecasts, while Amazon - the world's largest online retailer - reported its first quarterly loss in nearly a decade, losing $0.23 per share for the third quarter excluding items, much wider than the $0.08 loss expected by Wall Street analysts.

Amazon's chief financial officer Tom Szkutak attributed the quarter's loss, among other factors, to the company's heavy investments in its Kindle e-reader and tablet business, as well as in new geographic locations such as China and in video content. 

UK corporate news

The big story of the day was that shares in online fashion retailer ASOS (LON:ASC) dropped five per cent as directors cashed in on around £50 million of shares.

Chief executive Nick Robertson sold 744,792 worth of shares at £21.50 each, while finance chief Nick Beighton has pocketed £7.85 million. 

International director Jonathan Kamaluddin sold £6.6 million worth and e-commerce director James Hart sold shares worth £969,000.

The biggest riser on the FTSE 100 was miner Anglo American (LON:AAL), up nearly 4 per cent.

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