UK bank Barclays (BARC) reports a 19% jump in third quarter pre-tax profit as a weak trading performance in its investment banking business dragged down group results. The bank posts a worse-than-expected figure of £1.1bn for the three months to 30 September, dragging the shares to among the FTSE 100’s worst performers in early trading on Thursday.
The stock falls 5.2% to 186.7p.
Barclays also announces plans to ring-fence its day-to-day banking business, a move designed to insulate it from the higher risk investment banking arm.
Also under pressure are shares in housebuilders with one of the sector’s biggest going ex-dividend today. Investors in Barratt Developments (BDEV), the UK’s third largest housebuilder by market value, will today lose the right to the latest dividend pay out.
Barratt share price slides 5.3%, topping the FTSE 100 loser board, to 661.5p, although it is worth noting that the stock has risen nearly 40% over the past 12 months.
Ex-dividend stocks trim 2.42 points off the FTSE 100, according to Reuters’ calculations.
British department store chain Debenhams (DEB) posts a 17% slump in profit on Thursday in what it calls a volatile trading environment on the high street. But the stock rallies 2.2% to 47p with the decline not as bad as some investors feared.
That helps offset the department store’s rather gloomy outlook to Christmas sales, a vital period for all retailers.
Car dealership chain Inchcape (INCH) says its third quarter revenue rose 14.6% to £2.3bn aided by strong growth in Singapore and an acquisition in South America. The shares nudge 7p lower to 798.5p, with investors still concerned by slowing new car sales statistics in some global regions.
Falling full year revenues, profits and earnings spark a surprising stock rally at distribution group Connect (CNCT). Dismal results for the 12 months to 31 August were expected and investors are focusing on the company’s two year turnaround plan which will concentrate Connect on Early Distribution and Mixed Freight markets.
The shares are the biggest risers on the FTSE All-Share on Thursday, adding 6.9% to 97p, valuing the business at approximately £240m.
US drugs giant Pfizer (PFE:NYSE) is to kick off an auction process for its consumer healthcare business in November. That paves the way for a potential $15bn-plus sale of the unit, Reuters is reporting. That’s likely to interest UK group such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Reckitt Benckiser (RB.), which have both expressed interest in bidding for the unit.