FTSE falls for fourth day

By Simon Falush

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index fell on Monday morning, down for a fourth session, weighed as BP (BP.L: ) dragged energy stocks down while banks retreated from early gains, hurt by lingering anxiety about the euro zone debt crisis.

By 0852 GMT the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was 7.65 points or 0.1 percent lower at 5,055.28 after it ended 0.2 percent lower on Friday, having fallen below 5,000 for the first time since November.

Banks, which saw some of the heaviest losses last week, were again under pressure as news that the Bank of Spain was taking control of savings bank CajaSur, snuffing out hopes that the euro zone debt crisis was at last being resolved.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ), HSBC (HSBA.L: ), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) fell 0.1 to 1 percent.

“Until we see EU leaders singing from the same hymn sheet there’s going to be turmoil,” said David Buik, partner at BGC Partners. “We really need some strong leadership in Europe, and we’re not seeing it.”

The FTSE 100 index is still down more than 13 percent since fears escalated about the euro zone sovereign debt crisis in mid-April, and is down 6.6 percent so far this year after a 22 percent gain in 2009.

Energy stocks were in retreat despite firmer a crude price as an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico soured sentiment on the sector.

BP (BP.L: ) was down 2 percent after U.S. President Barack Obama dispatched two Cabinet secretaries to the fouled Gulf Coast on Monday to keep pressure on the energy giant to plug an undersea oil leak that threatens an ecological disaster.

Peer Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) fell 1.2 percent while Cairn Energy was down 2 percent.

CUTS COMING

British finance minister George Osborne told the BBC he would announce spending cuts worth 6 billion pounds ($8.68 billion) off the budget deficit this year by cutting wasteful spending and imposing a recruitment freeze across the civil service.

This pressured shares in Capita (CPI.L: ) and Serco Group (SRP.L: ), off 2.1 and 0.6 percent respectively as investors worried about the UK government renegotiating terms of government contracts.

Travel firms Thomas Cook (TCG.L: ) and Tui Travel (TT.L: ) gained 1.2 and 1.4 percent respectively with traders saying that they are benefiting from the chaos caused by striking staff at British Airways (BAY.L: ), as travelers are forced to make alternative plans.

British Airways managed to climb 1.3 percent, even as its cabin crew began a new strike after weekend talks to try to resolve a long-running dispute over wages, job cuts and working conditions broke down in acrimony.

(Editing by Sharon Lindores)

FTSE falls for fourth day