Lloyds and BNP Paribas lead bourses lower

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There was no love among investors for the two big banks to announce earnings on Thursday, leaving the main market indices looking a little deflated.

BNP Paribas, which surprised the markets by revealing that it had taken a hefty $1.1bn provision in the fourth quarter relating to an ongoing probe into possible violations of US economic sanctions, fell 3.4 per cent to €58.70 in Paris.

Meanwhile, shares in Lloyds Banking Group opened 3.2 per cent lower at 80.8p, even after the bank swung back into a statutory profit of £415m for 2013.

One of the big questions still roiling Lloyds investors, as the total amount set aside for the PPI scandal nears £10bn, is whether the UK bank will be forced to boost that total further after it recently revealed a further provision to £1.8bn.

The CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.2 per cent at 4,295.7, while London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent to 6,649.84. After rallying for the last six trading days, the FTSE Eurofirst 300 slipped 0.3 per cent to 1,323.34.

Tate & Lyle, the sugar and sweetener maker fell after reducing its outlook for 2014 and said prices for its Splenda Sucralose product would fall 15 per cent in 2015 from 2014 prices.

T&L’s shares were down 12 per cent at 691.5p, the biggest loss on the main London index.

Rolls-Royce was another big London faller – down 10.7 per cent at £10.80 – after it said underlying profits this year will be flat for the first time in a decade.

Shares in Nestlé were 2 per cent weaker at SFr65.80 after it said it would target 5 per cent in organic growth in 2014, at the lower end of its previous forecasts.

There was a better reception for Renault, which climbed 4.2 per cent to €68.70 after it said it planned to lift its operating margin to 5 per cent by 2017 after it rose to 3 per cent in 2013 from 1.9 per cent in 2012. The new target was issued alongside Renault’s 2013 results. Net income fell by two-thirds to €586m.

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