Market Report: Portugal's suspension of Banco Espirito Santo shares sends shock waves through markets


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The Independent Online

Wall Street and London came crashing down yesterday as a tremor in Portugal’s economy brought memories of the eurozone crisis flooding back.

Fears over the health of Banco Espirito Santo sent it tumbling as much as 17 per cent before the Portuguese regulator stepped in and suspended the shares. The move sent shock waves through markets, pricking the bubble of optimism that has engulfed equities for much of the year.

The FTSE 100 closed 45.67 points lower at 6,672.37, marking the fourth consecutive day of losses. Financials bore the brunt, cleaving 5.91 points from the blue-chip index.

There were some bright spots – Burberry climbed 45p to 1,464p thanks to solid results. One shareholder reportedly took the opportunity to offload a $117m (£68m) stake. Sainsbury’s also launched 5.7p higher to 314.9p in brisk trading, with the departure of chief executive Justin King heralding the return of rumours that the Qataris could make a bid for the supermarket.

In the FTSE 250, emerging markets investment specialist Ashmore rose 19.8p  to 374.4p as it hailed a return to inflow, with funds under management up by almost $5bn.

At the other end of the index sat recruiter Hays, slipping 9.6p to 128.1p despite strong numbers from its UK operation. Analysts fear a slowdown in Australia and currency movements mean forecasts for 2015 look unachievable.

The revival of the new issuance market and the wider equity market means stockbroker Panmure Gordon expects pre-tax profit for the first half to be six times greater than last year, at £1.8m. Panmure added 5.5p to 159.5p.

Publisher Bloomsbury dived 9.25p to 165.75p after a trading update that was light on good news. Revenues in the first quarter were down 9 per cent.

Low & Bonar, the supplier of yarns and fabrics, climbed 2.75p to 81p on improving revenues and margins.

US mining outfit Minco fell 0.25p to 2.87p despite announcing positive assessment results of its manganese metal project in Woodstock – not the site of the legendary music festival, but a town in Canada.