A perfect storm of falling oil and metal prices and a profit warning from the UK’s largest supermarket condemned the Footsie to its second biggest daily fall of the year yesterday.
Just six companies managed to eke out gains on the FTSE 100, as the index collapsed 142.68 points to 6529.47.
Tesco led the fallers, 12.4p lighter at 174.9p after yet another profit warning. Heavy losses were also registered at testing and measurement specialist Intertek, down 139p at 2176p, after Credit Suisse warned falling oil prices would likely lead to a slowdown of business.
Aggreko fell 72p to 1489p on similar qualms from Jefferies, which argued that while oil prices will mean cheaper fuel for the temporary power provider’s generators, the company’s exposure to the at-risk US shale gas industry means it will suffer in the short term.
Traders looked around desperately for value while everything else seemed to fall to dust. Randgold Resources jumped 149p to 4335p and Fresnillo climbed 17.5p to 733p.
G4S also bucked the market, spurred 5.8p higher to 279.8p by an endorsement from Credit Suisse. The bank believes the outsourcer is due for a bounce back after recent disastrous public contracts and thinks this makes it one of the most attractive investments in the sector.
Victrex, which makes plastic parts for planes and oil rigs, rocketed 136p to 2000p after handing investors an early Christmas gift in the form of a £43m special dividend. Profits for the year climbed 9 per cent to £102.7m, while revenue improved by 14 per cent to £252.6m.
Construction business Henry Boot jumped 15.75p to 198.75p after telling shareholders to expect full-year results “materially ahead” of forecasts, thanks to completing the sale of two chunks of land quicker than expected.
After a week of losses traders finally saw value in JKX Oil & Gas, which improved 1.25p to 12.25p. The company has lost 82 per cent of its value this year, hit hard by the conflict in Ukraine.
Fitbug, the maker of fitness tracking gadgets, dropped 2.5p to 8.12p after announcing a placing of 39m new shares at 9p each.