FTSE falls, led lower by travel and bank stocks

A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Britain’s top share index fell on Friday, putting it on course for a second straight weekly drop as travel and finance stocks were hit by poorly received updates from IAG (ICAG.L) and RBS (RBS.L).

Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE was down 50.94 points, or 0.8 percent at 6,271.64 points by 0753 GMT, and down 0.6 percent for the week.

It is down 2.5 percent from a 2016 high hit last week.

The top faller was British Airways-owner IAG, down 4.7 percent. While it slightly beat earnings estimates, it said that demand was falling after attacks in Brussels in March, and that it would slow its expansion plans.

“IAG is a company which has reported good numbers, but a lot of the good news is in the price,” said Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG. “With business demand looking a tad weaker, the good news seems done and dusted.”

Other travel firms suffered, with the sector .FTNMX5750 down 1.7 percent. Tui (TUIT.L), easyJet (EZJ.L) and Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG.L) were down 1.7-2 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland also fell after results, down 2.6 percent to extend a recent drop.

It reported a sharp rise in losses in the first quarter on Friday and cautioned on the timing of a return to dividend payouts as lower income, restructuring costs and sluggish asset sales underscored the challenges still facing the part-nationalised lender.

The stock is down 5.2 percent this week, having also fallen in the previous session after it said it risked missing a deadline for a disposal, likely increasing costs to the bank.

“RBS is just a complete mess… It’s lurching from one disaster to the next, with this latest batch of woeful figures coming after eight straight years of annual losses,” Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, said in a note.

After racking up nearly a 1 billion pounds in losses in the first quarter, “there’s every chance the bank will make it nine.”

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca (AZN.L) held up better after results, up 0.3 percent. The drugmaker is increasing its focus on cancer treatments in a drive to streamline operations after underlying earnings, hit by drug patent expiries, fell 12 percent in the first quarter, broadly in line with analyst expectations.

There were stand-out fallers among mid caps.

Restaurant Group (RTN.L) was the top FTSE 250 .FTMC faller, down 23 percent after a profit warning.

Ophir Energy Plc (OPHR.L) fell 17 percent after the oil and gas explorer said it had ended talks to bring Schlumberger (SLB.N) on board as a partner on its Fortuna project in Equatorial Guinea.