Market Report: Tullow Oil suffers fall and scraps its dividend


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Another dark day for oil – Tullow Oil tumbled by more than 7 per cent yesterday after falling to its first loss in 15 years and scrapping its dividend.

Chief executive Aidan Heavey’s assessment of 2104 as a “difficult” and “challenging” year seemed a cruel understatement beside a 16 per cent slump in revenues and a loss of $1.64bn for the year, even if this poor performance was warned in earlier updates.

Tullow tumbled 29.7p to 384.6p, dragging other commodity stocks with it. The FTSE 100 closed down 10.95 points at 6,816.17.

The results of the blockbuster Premier League auction left BT and Sky enjoying differing fortunes. BT, which paid just 18 per cent more than last time, climbed 16.2p to 460p after what was seen as a good bit of business. But investors balked at Sky’s seemingly panicked £4.2bn bill, 80 per cent more than last time. Sky tumbled 21p to 933p.

Health and hygiene giant Reckitt Benckiser, which makes everything from Durex to Strepsils, found itself near the top of the Footsie leader board, up 185p at 5,775p after reporting stronger than expected fourth-quarter trading and plans for cost-cutting.

Housebuilders also performed well after sturdy results from Redrow, up 48.2p at 345p. Persimmon was one of the biggest risers on the blue-chip index, climbing 58p to 1671p.

Deutsche Bank followed JPMorgan’s example and warned of “significant challenges” facing Royal Mail, down 7.3p at 424.9p.

News that Poundland’s private equity backer was almost halving its stake spooked investors. JPMorgan and Credit Suisse had raised £142m for Warburg Pincus by selling 35 million shares at 405p apiece, a discount to the previous close of 416.9p. The sale saw Poundland fall even below the level Warburg offloaded its shares at, slipping 29.4p to 387.5p.

After the collapse of Max Petroleum, off 0.01p at 0.12p, earlier in the week, another oil and gas tiddler was feeling the pain. North Sea operator Trap Oil announced it relinquished its licence on an asset at a cost of $5.8m. Trap also said it was losing $380,000 a month on another field. Trap, off 1.07p at 0.8p, blamed low oil prices for both bits of bad news.