FTSE 100 slides to two-month low as NatWest drags on banks

London’s top index moved 0.86%, or 63.29 points, lower to finish at 7,291.28.

Henry Saker-Clark
Friday 27 October 2023 17:17 BST
NatWest said its performance is likely to have been affected by more customers looking for better returns on their savings (Matt Crossick/PA)
NatWest said its performance is likely to have been affected by more customers looking for better returns on their savings (Matt Crossick/PA)

The FTSE 100 dropped to its lowest since August on Friday after a poor week for banking stocks continued.

NatWest became the latest firm to fall firmly lower after the banking group reported profits for the latest quarter below previous forecasts.

The company said its performance is likely to have been affected by more customers looking for better returns on their savings, with margins dipping slightly.

It came as the group confirmed that an independent probe found its decision to shut down Nigel Farage’s Coutts account showed “serious failings” in its treatment of the politician.

NatWest was the FTSE 100’s heaviest faller, sliding by 23.8p to 182p as a result.

London’s top index moved 0.86%, or 63.29 points, lower to finish at 7,291.28.

Elsewhere in Europe, sentiment was also broadly lower amid further below-par earnings updates.

The Dax index was 0.3% lower for the day at the close and the Cac 40 closed down 1.28%.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It’s been another difficult week for European equity markets with most of the weakness being driven by disappointment over earnings as well as guidance downgrades, amidst concern over the outlook for demand as we head into the final quarter of this year.

“The Dax has struggled to rally after sinking to seven-month lows on Monday of this week, while the FTSE 100 has slipped to two-month lows this afternoon as companies that warn on profits get punished hard, along with their peers.”

In the US, the markets were more mixed with a better-than-expected set of figures from Amazon supporting tech stocks.

Meanwhile, sterling made slight progress but it comes after a largely poor week ahead of another key Bank of England monetary policy committee meeting.

The pound was up O.2% at 1.215 US dollars and was 0.06% lower at 1.147 euros at market close in London.

In company news, British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) finished 0.8p lower at 142.05p despite the company revealing that profits rose 56% in the three months to September following strong performances on its North and South Atlantic routes.

Shares in Trainline made gains after the travel booking platform was buoyed by an upgrade from brokers at JP Morgan Cazenove. It climbed 22p to 253.2p.

Elsewhere, Diageo finished in the red after it was knocked by a sales warning by French spirit rival Remy Cointreau, which flagged weak demand from US customers.

As a result, Diageo fell by 84.5p to 3,025p at the close of play.

The price of oil moved higher as it continued to yo-yo in the face of conflicting reports over tensions in the Middle East.

A barrel of Brent crude rose by 1% to 88.81 US dollars (£73.08) as markets were closing in London.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rentokil, up 14.6p at 421p, Fresnillo, up 15.8p at 549.6p, Mondi, up 29.5p at 1,308.5p, RS Group, up 15.2p at 667.4p, and Howden Joinery up 11.8p at 636p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were NatWest Group, down 23.8p to 182p, Lloyds, down 1.42p to 39.76p, Weir Group, down 54p to 1,680.5p, Intertek, down 116p to 3,755p, and GSK, down 41.2p to 1,433.2p.

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