BT and Yell drag down FTSE

BT and Yell were punished by investors today after the telecoms-based pair provided the City with cause for concern in third quarter results.

BT and Yell were punished by investors today after the telecoms-based pair provided the City with cause for concern in third quarter results.

The mood of the market was not helped by trading in New York and nervousness ahead of the Bank of England’s decision on interest rates later in the session.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 47.9 points to 5827.5 by mid-morning.

Yell was the biggest faller after the Yellow Pages and Yell.com directories business lowered revenues guidance for the current quarter because of the weaker economic environment in the UK.

Shares were off 46.75p at 283.25p, a drop of 14%, while BT was down 7% following a disappointing trading update. The fall of 18p to 244.75p reflected shareholder anxiety after the company missed the City’s third quarter revenues target and failed to add as many broadband customers as hoped.

Rolls-Royce was also on the back foot, despite the engine giant offering a 35% dividend boost. Underlying profits rose 13% to £800m (€1bn), but this was marginally below analysts’ hopes for a 14% rise. With the impact of the weak US dollar continuing to weigh, shares fell 36.25p to 443.75p.

The biggest gain of the session came from gas and exploration firm BG, which climbed 5% after it posted a 25% rise in fourth quarter profits and raised reserves estimates for a Brazilian field, causing shares to jump 49p to 1126p.

Elsewhere, shares in easyJet failed to cling to early gains, seen after the budget airline delivered a reassuring trading update and stuck by its guidance for a 20% profits hike in the current financial year.

Sentiment weakened as the session wore on, leaving the airline’s shares 4% or 15.75p lower at 432.5p.

And Halfords shares fell 9.75p to 269.5p after the retailer reported slower sales and the departure of chief executive Ian McLeod.

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