Market Report: General election is already making an impact on the Footsie


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The Independent Online

It looks as though it’s going to be a rocky few months for the City – we’re only two weeks into January, but already the upcoming general election is making an impact on the Footsie.

British Gas-owner Centrica and SSE both suffered after Labour outlined plans to force energy companies to pass on wholesale price falls to customers. Centrica slipped 7.8p to 261p, while SSE tumbled 92p to 1,503p, the latter’s misery compounded by storms over the weekend that left it struggling to return power to parts of Scotland.

Oil companies continued to slide as the price of Brent crude fell lower. One of the worst hit was Afren, after it admitted that a reassessment of one of its fields in Kurdistan has revealed it’s a dud. Afren, off 12p at 27.31p, said it is assessing its options.

Oil-rig maker Lamprell dropped 17.25p to 95.25p after warning that revenue for the year ahead is set to be 10 per cent below expectations.

The FTSE 100 inched 0.28 points higher to 6,501.42. Engineer GKN climbed 10.7p to 348.5p after Credit Suisse said its car parts division could do better than expected over the next few years.

Embattled insurance outsourcer Quindell climbed to a nine-week high as it confirmed the appointment of two City heavyweights, Richard Rose and Jim Sutcliffe, to its board. As part of the deal the pair have been promised close to 13 per cent of the company’s shares, vesting over 12 months. Quindell climbed 22.25p to 107p, hanging on to the gains despite a tweet from Gotham City Research promising an imminent downgrade. The mysterious short seller turned researcher sparked a near £1bn sell-off of Quindell last April after publishing a report full of damning allegations, all of which Quindell denied.

Fastjet, the budget African airline backed by EasyJet’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, improved 0.15p to 1.05p after announcing its first profitable month of operations in December.

Strat Aero rose 0.25p to 12.25p; it plans to open northern Europe’s first drone-pilot training school and has signed a letter of intent with the Netherlands.