BA shares lose 1% of value on tough day for FTSE

British Airways shares lost more than 1% of their value today after the airline cancelled flights in the wake of wildcat strikes at Heathrow.

British Airways shares lost more than 1% of their value today after the airline cancelled flights in the wake of wildcat strikes at Heathrow.

A total of 500 flights will be cancelled up until 6pm today, leading to analysts forecasts of a potential cost to the company of between £10m (€14.5m) and £40m (€58.2m).

BA shares slipped 3.75p 288.5p, but the stock was not the biggest faller on a tough day for the FTSE 100 Index, which eased 9.4 points to 5349.3 by mid-morning.

In addition to the strikes, investors in BA are also concerned at the impact of rising fuel costs after a barrel of crude oil traded above $66 for the first time today.

The oil price hike could not spark shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell into life, however, with the oil majors falling 4.5p and 19p to 650p and 1926p respectively.

BT Group outpaced the fall from BA as shares dipped 3p to 218p after investors lost the right to the latest dividend payment. Unilever was also under pressure, falling 7.5p to 561.5p.

The financial sector was doing its best to prop up the market at the end of a week when many of the biggest firms reported numbers.

Insurers were particularly strong following losses yesterday, with Prudential up 3.5p at 528.5p and Royal & Sun Alliance ahead 0.75p at 92.75p. Worries over UK life and pension margins continued to impact on Norwich Union owner Aviva, which was down another 4.5p at 639.5p.

Elsewhere, the prospect of a takeover battle sparked frenetic buying of shares in Collins Stewart Tullett after the broker confirmed a number of bid approaches. Its shares rose 24% or 121.75p to 634p and also boosted those of FTSE 250 Index rival ICAP – up 10.5p at 322.5p.

Back in the airline sector, second-tier company easyJet lost hold of early gains to stand 4.5p weaker at 300p. That was after the boss of Icelandair owner FL played down speculation of a bid for easyJet, following a recent sharp rise in the UK company’s share price.

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