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Barclays brought forward its trading statement by two weeks but if it thought this would halt the share price decline it was, so far, mistaken. The stock is off another 1½ per cent today despite the fact that the news on write-offs were less bad than expected. This may, of course, simply reflect the strong rally the shares have already enjoyed this week.
For some it will indicate how nervous many in the market are of what is still to come. Sandy Chen at Panmure Gordon, for example, writes: “Putting the exposures together points to another £3bn in charges throughout 2008, with relatively mild assumptions about further deterioration in credit markets. And, we note an absence of commentary on the synthetic CDO structures and stress-testing of hedging structures, particularly in credit derivatives. Given the potential for further charges throughout 2008, we remain sellers.”
Lex, on the other hand, says: “Light sleepers will find things to fret about, but Thursday’s trading statement from Barclays was decidedly reassuring.” Notice, by the way, that RBS (down 5 per cent) has not issued a similar statement.
Still on credit squeezery, Experian shares are off almost 10 per cent after the group, rather obviously, said consumers cut back on lending.
Scottish & Newcastle flatly rejected a second takeover proposal from brewers Carlsberg and Heineken, describing the 750p a share offer as “wholly inadequate”. The conditional proposal is 30p higher than Carlsberg’s and Heineken’s initial offer of 720p in cash, which was made last month.
SABMiller said it faced a tougher second half as a result of rising barley prices and cooling demand in Colombia. Chief executive Graham Mackay said it could take two-to-three years to repair the damage done by rising raw material prices, which is an arresting comment.
British Land chief executive Stephen Hester dismissed any suggestion that he might ape Land Secs and split his group up. Land Secs’ share price since the idea was announced on Wednesday will not have encouraged him. The stock has underperformed its sector by 5 per cent since it announced its plans on Wednesday. That said, its shares have done quite a bit better than British Land or Hammerson since the idea of a split was first aired three months ago.