Market Report: Sales drop sparks an XP Power cut

Has the power been turned down for US and European industrial and engineering stocks? A battery maker for the industrial and healthcare sector got the City talking yesterday. XP Power revealed an 11 per cent drop in sales for the nine months to October and its share price slumped 64p to 946p.

City scribes reckon the small-cap player is a gauge on how the world is faring.

Katherine Thompson, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, said: "XP Power's trading update acts as a barometer on global economic activity, which remains subdued. Second-half revenues are now likely to show slower … growth than we had expected"

The bad news from US and European- focused XP followed industrial engineer Cookson's profit warning yesterday.

Three analysts – Peel Hunt, Numis Securities and RBC Capital Markets – downgraded the group and reduced their target prices to between 600p and 635p. Its shares responded with a 0.5p fall to 539.5p.

The benchmark index reacted to the International Monetary Fund's move to reduce its growth forecasts for the UK economy and revise down its global growth forecasts for 2013. The index lost 31.49 points and ended at 5,810.25, helped down by more gloomy news from the Office for National Statistics that revealed our industrial production fell in August for the 17th month in a row.

The City is waiting for the "real" numbers that will emerge from company results in the next month, but the US was a step ahead and kicked off its reporting season last night with Alcoa, the aluminium producer that makes metals for beer cans and airplanes. It was expected to report a drop in profits for the first time since 2009, reinforcing the weak economic outlook.

Back on the blue-chip index many of the mining stocks were up, regaining some of Monday's falls with Vedanta Resources leading the way up 22p to 1,090p.

But retailers were in vogue and Marks & Spencer topped the leader board as analyst Gillian Hilditch at JP Morgan Cazenove came out positive on UK retail. She gave the retailer a buy recommendation and it ticked up 11.8p to 381.3p

It seems there is never a dull day for oil giant BP, particularly when it comes to its troublesome Russian joint venture.

Its protracted plan to exit TNK-BP looked a little more complicated as its oligarch partners at Alfa Access-Renova (AAR) have now signalled they could flog their stake.

AAR said it would rather sell out than be left in a "devalued" joint venture with state-backed rival Rosneft.

BP wants to sell its 50 per cent holding in TNK-BP and has been negotiating to sell it to AAR as well as Rosneft. A deal with Rosneft could see BP achieve its dream of exploring for oil in the Russian Arctic. Yet with AAR now giving notice it could sell its stake, either to a third party or through a flotation, it looks like a race between BP and AAR to exit.

BP has first refusal on AAR's holding and has 45 days to respond to the oligarchs but it said the move has "no impact whatsoever on its current plans to sell its stake in TNK-BP". BP managed to hold on to a 0.6p gain to 437.6p.

The deadline for defence group BAE Systems' proposed merger with EADS is today and the group's shares lost 0.9p to 325.4p as an extension looked likely.

Traders still had the energy to gossip despite a subdued day on the markets. Some thought buying shares of hedge fund Man Group could be attributed to hope of takeover activity. But an upgrade from Morgan Stanley analysts was the likely cause of the shares lifting 1.8p to 89.95p. They raised their target price to 84p.

On Aim, retail investors' favourite Gulf Ke ystone Petroleum, will mount a defence in the High Court today against claims from former business partner Excalibur Ventures for a 30 per cent share of its oil and gas assets in Kurdistan. Gulf edged up 5.75p to 205.75p. Punters also speculated about an update for Lansdowne Oil & Gas and Providence Resources' Barryroe oilfield in the Irish Sea. Providence rose 3.5p to 695p and Lansdowne 4.88p to 63.5p.

Suggested Topics
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice