UK markets open in 51 minutes

Oil giants pull market lower after Shell reveals £18bn hit

August Graham, PA City Reporter

Investors in oil giant Shell sent the FTSE 100 tumbling on Tuesday as London’s top index lagged far behind many of its global counterparts.

The oil company’s share price suffered a sharp fall after it announced plans to slash up to 22 billion US dollars (£18 billion) from the value it gives its assets.

It was an acknowledgement from Shell’s management that the oil in the ground that it has the rights to extract may not be worth as much as previously estimated.

The news sent both A and B shares in Shell – both of which are listed on the FTSE 100 – down by nearly 4%.

It dealt a double-whammy to the FTSE by also dragging BP lower, weeks after the company made a similar admission of its own.

At the end of the day, the index had dropped 0.9%, or a 56.03 point loss to 6,169.74.

“The FTSE 100 is underperforming against its continental counterparts on account of the bearish moves in Royal Dutch Shell and BP,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

The news that the UK’s GDP fell faster than first thought in the first three months of the year and a lockdown in Leicester are also likely to have weighed on the index, added Connor Campbell, at Spreadex.

It contrasted the FTSE against more bullish moves from the continent and across the pond.

In Frankfurt, the Dax rose 0.6%, in Paris the Cac 40 index dropped 0.2%, and in New York the Dow Jones and S&P 500 were trading up by 0.3% and 1% shortly after markets closed in Europe.

The price of oil also likely weighed on Shell and BP, with Brent crude dropping 1.2% to 41.20 US dollars per barrel.

The pound traded up about 0.6% against both the dollar and the euro, buying 1.2373 and 1.1003 respectively.

In company news, engineering giant Smiths Group leapt to the top of the FTSE 100 with an 8.8% gain as it announced plans to cut jobs and slash costs.

The news that holiday firm On the Beach hit a half-year loss was perhaps not surprising, but shares still dropped by 2.5% as the scale of the devastation was revealed. Pre-tax loss was £34 million compared with a £12 million profit a year earlier.

EasyJet fell by 1% after union Balpa said the company is considering plans to lay off 700 pilots and close bases at Stansted, Southend and Newcastle airports.

Intercontinental Hotels took a 2% hit on the news that the Holiday Inn owner believes revenue has more than halved over the past six months.

Finally, housebuilder Redrow dropped 6.8% as it announced plans to scale back operations in London after a profit warning caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Smiths Group, up 114p to 1,412p, Ferguson, up 146p to 6,612p, Polymetal, up 26p to 1,615.5p, M&G, up 2.25p to 167.55p, and Informa, up 5.9p to 470.4p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Shell ‘A’, down 52.8p to 1,287p, Shell ‘B’, down 46.8p to 1,224p, IAG, down 8.4p to 222.2p, BAE Systems, down 12.3p to 483.4p, and BP, down 7.7p to 307.2p.