Market Report: SSE warns of troubles in its retail arm


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Investors put SSE shares on the back-burner as the energy supplier warned of troubles in its retail arm.

The UK’s second  biggest gas and electricity supplier, down 80p at 1,507p, revealed it lost 90,000 customers in the first quarter.

It admitted that operating profit for the energy supply business would fall, but stuck by its full-year profit target.

SSE’s main competitor British Gas (which is owned by Centrica – down 2p at 274.9p) dropped its energy prices by 5 per cent last week to heap more pressure on the company.

The industry is under the microscope after the competition watchdog warned that customers’ energy bills are too high.

SSE’s shares were also trading ex-dividend, meaning the deadline to receive the latest shareholder payout  has passed.

The market reaction was muted after Greece approved the second set of changes needed for a bailout, with the  FTSE 100 down 12.33 points at 6,655.01.

Connor Campbell, at Spreadex, warned that 36 rebellious Syriza MPs could still give Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, a headache, but said that for now “he has the green flag to chase that much-needed bailout package”.

Investors in Aberdeen Asset Management rushed for the exit almost as quickly as they did from its funds in the third quarter.

Aberdeen Asset Management, down 7.6 per cent to 369.1p, suffered further outflows of funds in the third quarter as investors cut their holdings in equities exposed to emerging markets, which Aberdeen focuses on.

As much as £9.9bn disappeared from its funds, leaving £307.3bn under  its watch.

The market conditions have proved particularly tough for Europe’s largest investment firm, with foreign exchange movements and volatility in the Chinese stock market mostly to blame.

Over on Aim, Victoria Oil & Gas’s second-quarter update was well-received by investors, sending the Cameroon-focused gas firm, whose production increased 178 per cent in the latest quarter, up 2p  to 63p.