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Cable & Wireless shares fall on results alert

FTSE 100 finishes the day 43.08 points lower at 5852.39, a 50-point drop on the week

Struggling Cable & Wireless Communications slumped nearly 17% after it warned its full year results would not meet expectations.

The company said its business in Panama was facing increased competition and lower demand from corporate clients, and its earnings there would be around 4m (£160m) rather than the 0m-5m it had been anticipating. It also had problems in Jamaica, and planned to write down the value of that business in its full year figures.

The news sent its shares tumbling 7.24p to 36.33p. In a sell note Rory Stokes at Liberum Capital said: “[A recent] refinancing has bought breathing space, but the very low cash generation of this business and the structural pressures it faces makes the net debt position look daunting and the dividend precarious.”

After remaining steady for much of the week, despite the Greek crisis, the market came close to giving up the struggle yesterday afternoon. The FTSE 100 finished 43.08 points lower at 5852.39, a 50-point drop on the week.

Mining shares were among the leading fallers, both on the eurozone’s economic problems and on renewed worries about a slowdown in China, a key market for commodity companies. According to the country’s latest trade data, imports fell 15.3% year on year in January, raising new concerns about the state of its economy. In particular, copper imports dropped 18.7%.

Despite the takeover developments in the sector – Glencore and Xstrata – investors are taking the cautious view. Anglo American dropped 113.5p to 2746.5p, Kazakhmys fell 53p to £11.24 and BHP Billiton lost 57.5p to 2057.5p.

Icap lost 14.8p to 366.6p after Goldman Sachs downgraded the interdealer broker from buy to neutral. Icap’s smaller rival Tullett Prebon also came under pressure, down 17.8p to 310.7p.

Aviva fell 8.7p to 361.3p on reports the insurer has postponed a potential sale of its stake in its loss-making Taiwan joint venture, because of regulatory disapproval.

Elsewhere Next added 14p to £27.33 after Deutsche Bank analysts raised their recommendation from hold to buy and their target price from £28.25 to £31: “We expect another steady year of earnings per share growth and attractive total shareholder return.”

Online grocer Ocado fell 4.2p to 106.4p. A year ago exactly the John Lewis pension fund sold its remaining 10.4% stake for 265p a share, raising £152m.

Inmarsat lost 11.5p to 458.6p after climbing sharply earlier in the week on bid speculation. Traders suggested the satellite operator could be a target for GE, EADS or private equity.

Life insurer Phoenix fell 80.5p to 561p after calling off takeover talks with private equity group CVC.

888, earlier in the week reporting its highest quarterly revenues, was steady at 55.75p despite being one of 10 online gaming businesses put on a draft list of companies that could be excluded from operating in Belgium. Analysts at Daniel Stewart said: “The revenue 888 derives from this market is insignificant.” © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds