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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?