Property firms suffer losses on FTSE

The FTSE 100 Index shed more than 1% today after under-pressure property firms suffered more heavy losses.

The FTSE 100 Index shed more than 1% today after under-pressure property firms suffered more heavy losses.

Land Securities dropped 9% after indicating yesterday it may follow its rivals in asking shareholders for additional cash.

A reassuring statement from insurer Legal & General and gains for beleaguered RBS and Barclays failed to keep the FTSE 100 Index out of the red, with the top flight 64.7 points lower at 4070 by mid-morning.

As well as a fall of 57p to 564.5p for Land Secs, Hammerson was off 34.25p to 353p and British Land dropped 20p to 430.25p, a fall of 4%.

Legal & General gained more than 10% at one stage after it issued a statement attempting to address concerns about its capital position. Investors were reassured by the company’s capital surplus of more than £1.6bn (€1.8bn) at the end of December, but shares later retreated to stand just 0.6p higher at 44.9p, a gain of just over 1%.

Banking shares were steady, with Royal Bank of Scotland up 0.7p at 21.1p and Barclays ahead 1.5p at 98.6p. Lloyds Banking Group lost an initial gain to stand 2.2p lower at 54.2p.

Hotels group InterContinental was among the FTSE’s best performing stocks after the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn firm met forecasts with a 13% rise in 2008 profits.

Shares were 12.75p higher at 487.75p, even though it issued a downbeat assessment on trading prospects for this year.

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