Market Report: Glencore marks unhappy anniversary with new low

  • @greentoby

A much-hyped listing swiftly followed by the share price plummeting – sound familiar? As the fall-out from the Facebook IPO continues to rumble on, today marks the one-year anniversary of another debut that has not exactly lived up to expectations. After a massive float worth £37bn, official trading of shares in Glencore International began exactly 12 months ago. However, you could forgive those investors who got in at the start for not blowing out the candles on the cake with too much enthusiasm.

Having made its debut priced at 530p a pop, the commodity trading giant's share price has been in freefall ever since, losing more than a third. Last night there was a fresh and rather unwelcome milestone, with Glencore's fall of 17.95p to 343.65p seeing it at an all-time low.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this, and certainly some analysts have been left rather red-faced – little more than a month after the float scribblers from UBS and Credit Suisse decided to set price targets for the group of 630p and 600p respectively.

It is not all doom and gloom, with optimism that Glencore – headed by Ivan Glasenberg – could be supported by the end of a lock-up period on employees' shares that will result in an increase in its Footsie weighting.

Meanwhile, it is also worth noting that the benchmark index itself has dropped around 10 per cent since Glencore's debut, with the miners especially badly hit, while Accendo Markets' Michael van Dulken said the City was "annoyingly impressed" that Glencore had listed near the top of the market's recent highs.

Still, those unwilling to try to take a long-term view will not be particularly happy – "the only winners are the ones that took the fees", grumbled one trader.

Any hopes the last two days of rises were the start of a major recovery were quickly vanquished as the FTSE 100 headed back down, losing all of this week's gains.

With fears rising again over a possible Greek exit ahead of last night's meeting between eurozone leaders, the top-tier index fell 136.87 points to 5,266.41. But at least shares in Facebook were rising for once in early trading on Wall Street.

Having been a driving force behind the short-lived bounce, much of the pain was suffered by the miners with Vedanta Resources the worst of the bunch after falling 95.5p to 951.5p.

The sector wasn't helped by UBS recommending investors should remain cautious, particularly towards miners exposed to copper and platinum group metals such as Kazakhmys (down 58p to 679.5p) and Antofagasta (44p lower at 1,032p).

Also on the loserboard – and not for the first time – was hedge fund giant Man Group, which set a fresh, 12-year low by retreating 4.55p to 73.1p.

In fact, by the bell there were only three risers on the benchmark index. They included BSkyB, as the satellite broadcaster crept up 2.5p to 693p after being cleared by a Competition Commission investigation into the pay-TV movie market.

Punters in the London Stock Exchange rushed to follow two of the bourse's largest investors out the door after Italian banks UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo both got rid of their stakes well below Tuesday's closing price of 1021p. With the two – who were the third and fourth-largest shareholders and together held 11.5 per cent of the company – selling at 960p, the LSE was knocked back 74p to 947p.

Aquarius Platinum finished 8.4p lower at 74.8p as the miner admitted output at its Mimosa mine in Zimbabwe would be 70 per cent lower for the next three weeks following a fire, although it said its stockpiles were more than large enough to cover the expected drop in production.

There was some relief among investors in FirstGroup after the public transport company's final results contained no nasty surprises. With the figures coming in the wake of March's profits warning, the firm accelerated 15.2p to 220.1p as it revealed that it was going to get rid of more of its bus operations.

The bid battle for Cove Energy is not over yet, if the punters are to be believed. After Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production trumped the 220p approach from Royal Dutch Shell (down 47.5p to 2,039p) by offering 240p a share, the Mozambique-focused driller moved even higher, shooting up 26p to 250p.

Meanwhile, fellow explorer Roxi Petroleum was also in demand after saying it was encouraged by the latest update from its drilling in Kazakhstan, prompting the tiddler to advance 1p – or 36 per cent – to 3.75p.