Market Report: Speedy Hire shares take a dive


Speedy Hire shares collapsed on Friday following Thursday night’s revelation that chief executive Steve Corcoran was out the door after accounting irregularities were revealed.

A £5m balance-sheet black hole at the construction firm led to his resignation, along with the suspension of the finance director of the international division, and the early morning falls continued throughout the day with shares closing down 14p, or 22 per cent, at 50.5p.

The company discovered the “mis-statement of a number of accounting balances” with control mechanisms “repeatedly and deliberately circumvented”.

Overall, the FTSE 100 closed down 4 points at 6,651. As November comes to an end, it means that  the blue-chip index has suffered its first monthly fall since August.

The biggest faller pulling the market down was credit-rating specialist Experian, down 32p, at 1,127p, following a downgrade by Goldman Sachs, who said the stock’s valuation was too high, moving from neutral to sell.

Over in the South Atlantic, the Falkland Islands oil explorers suffered following the news that the Argentinian government passed a law making oil exploration in the region punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Falkland Oil and Gas closed down 0.25p at 27p; Desire Petroleum fell by 0.25p to 16p and Rockhopper closed 1.75p behind at 144.5p.

The British Foreign Office said the UK “unequivocally supports the right of the Falkland Islanders to develop their natural resources for their own economic benefit” and challenged the legitimacy of the law.

There was also mixed news for another oil explorer, Tullow Oil, which found the black stuff in northern Kenya but had to abandon a well in the Norwegian Arctic after it came up dry. Its shares closed up 5p at 869.5p.

The two London-listed energy firms in the so-called “Big Six” were hit by news that the Government is considering asking suppliers to freeze prices until 2015. British Gas’s owner, Centrica, dropped 3.2p to 338.3p, while SSE fell 22p to 1,327p.