Oil prices crashed below the $43 mark earlier today, a seven-month low, on worries that Libyan and Nigerian output is still rising. Earlier hedge fund partner John Kilduff told CNBC that oil prices were “most definitely” on target for $40 a barrel. Perhaps even lower.
As oil prices slid so did the pound, though for different reasons. Bank of England governor Mark Carney earlier today made it clear that “now is not yet the time” for a British interest rate surge, causing a jolt for the UK currency. At 4pm sterling was at $1.2626, down more than -0.80% against the US dollar while the euro was at $1.1134.
The FTSE 100 closed down more than -0.50% at 7,482.96 with Morrisons and AstraZeneca taking 1.6% and 1.52% climbs. However miners all fell hard, with Antofagasta and Glencore down -4.54% and -3.85% respectively; blame that oil worry. There was also more stress for Next, down -3.09%.
- UK FTSE 100 7,482.96 -0.54%
- Dow 21,523.00 -0.03%
- S&P 500 2,446.76 -0.27%
- Nasdaq 6,229.70 -0.15%
- Nikkei 225 20,230.41 +0.81%
- DAX 12,845.48 -0.33%
- CAC 40 5,300.59 -0.19%
- Gold 1,245.40 -0.10%
- Oil WTI 42.88 -3.21%
Barclays former execs in the dock
As we reported earlier this morning, four Barclays ex-executives have been charged with fraud, including ex boss John Varley. All four will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 3 July. This is a big story: no criminal charges, until now, have been bought against any UK bank over events relating to the financial crisis.
“The Charges arise in the context of Barclays' capital raisings in June and November 2008,” said Barclays in a statement this morning. “Barclays awaits further details of the Charges from the SFO. The SFO has informed Barclays that it has not made a decision as to whether it will also bring charges against Barclays Bank PLC in respect of the Loan.”
Up to now the SFO inquiry has taken five years. It’s thought Barclays may plead guilty. However, as the BBC’s Simon Jack pointed out earlier, “Not because they accept they acted wrongly, but if pleading guilty means that it can continue its operations unimpaired.” Barclays shares were down 1.91% at 202.80p at close of trading.
Fox/Sky decision looms
Meanwhile a decision nears over the Sky takeover plan by Fox; Karen Bradley, Culture Secretary, has to disclose a “minded to” (or not) verdict on whether to push for a broader investigation into potential competition issues by 29 June.
There has been vociferous opposition to any deal as both Fox and Sky are overseen by Rupert Murdoch. Ofcom has to ensure that a broadcast licence holder must be ‘fit and proper’.
Fox last made a failed bid for Sky six years ago but the Murdoch family rapidly found themselves engulfed in the ‘phone hacking scandal. The chief worry for Ofcom is media bias and competition, but reputational concerns lurk also.
Breaking news: Boom Supersonic suggests a 'quiet Concorde' could be in service within five years – by 2023 – if plans for its 55-seat plane is approved.