Market Report: Traders dump shares in companies most at risk from independence Yes vote


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The Independent Online

As the word “Yes” for an independent Scotland looked more likely after a weekend poll, the word sell echoed around the City yesterday as traders dumped shares in companies most at risk.

Britain’s two taxpayer-backed banks, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group were among the biggest fallers, with the latter – owner of Bank of Scotland – down 1.8p to 72.2p and the former  4.5p lower at 342.5p.

Scottish-based insurer Standard Life and energy firm SSE were both in the top 10 fallers, at 10.1p weaker to 406.4p and down 34p to 1,477p, respectively.

Also, Glasgow-based engineer Weir fell 40p to 2,679p and Babcock, which has a contract to service the Trident nuclear submarine fleet, declined 26p to 1,081p.

Trustnet tallied up the number of main market companies which have links to Scotland that have been hit in the sell-off and estimated more than £2.7bn had been taken off their market capitalisations.

Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Having pretty much dismissed the prospect of a ‘Yes’ vote for some months, assuming that Scottish voters would vote according to generally accepted economic logic, markets haven’t reacted well to this new dynamic and the London market has been hit the hardest.”

The FTSE 100 tumbled 20.33 points to 6,834.77.

Over on the mid-tier table, profits from pet vaccines and products expert Dechra Pharmaceuticals were in rude health. The business cut debt, raised its dividend and posted an  8 per cent jump in underlying operating profit and rose 21.5p to 752.5p.

Aim-listed Character Group is on track to meet full-year expectations. The toy maker and distributor has had strong sales in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US and jumped 8.5p  to 220p.

Minerals miner Sierra Rutile said it will suffer an adverse impact from Sierra Leone’s lockdown because of the ebola outbreak and was 3p worse off at 34p.

Seeing Machines agreed a deal with Samsung Electro-Mechanics to develop its face and eye-tracking technology for consumers and it advanced 1.12p to 8p.