FTSE lower for 4th session; banks, oils weak

* FTSE 100 down 0.5 pct; hits 2 month intraday lows

* Banks weaker; euro zone debt problems spook investors

* Energy stocks lower as crude slips; ex-divs also weigh

By Simon Falush

LONDON, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index fell on
Wednesday as mounting concern over zone debt problems hit banks,
and energy stocks fell as crude retreated further.

By 0818 GMT the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was 28.99 points, or 0.5
percent lower at 5,382.12, down for a fourth consecutive session
after it slid 2.6 percent on Tuesday to its lowest closing level
in over two months.

The index was dogged by fears that European Union officials
will not be able to stop Greece’s sovereign debt crisis from
spreading around the region. [ID:nN04110574]

Domestically focused banks were weaker, as investors sold
the risk-sensitive stocks.

Barclays (BARC.L: ), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Lloyds
Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) fell 1.5 to 3.6 percent, though
Asia-focused HSBC (HSBA.L: ) added 0.6 percent.

“Greece and the euro zone’s inability to deal with their
debt problems is giving investors pause for thought,” said John
Haynes, head of research at Rensburg Sheppards. “It is reminding
the market that a strong recovery is not a done deal.”

Also with financials, Prudential (PRU.L: ) fell 0.3 percent,
after it delayed a rights issue prompting a top 10 investor to
call it “shambolic” and increasing concern about prospects for a
$35.5 billion acquisition of AIG’s (AIG.N: ) Asian life insurance
unit.

Energy stocks were weaker as crude (CLc1: ) fell towards $82
per barrel. BG Group (BG.L: ), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ), Tullow
Oil (TLW.L: ), Cairn Energy (CNE.L: ) BG Group (BG.L: ) and Royal
Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) fell 0.9 to 1.7 percent.

BP (BP.L: ), however, added 0.7 percent, despite going
ex-dividend, recouping a small portion of the heavy losses the
oil giant has suffered as a result of fears on the costs
associated with clearing up an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Panmure Gordon upped its rating for BP to “buy” from “sell”.

Ex-dividend factors weighed heavily on the index, taking a
hefty 18.47 points off the FTSE 100. Aside from BP, Antofagasta
(ANTO.L: ), Bunzl (BNZL.L: ), G4S (GFS.L: ), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ),
Kingfisher (KGF.L: ), Wm Morrison (MRW.L: ), Rexam (REX.L: ), Royal
Dutch Shell A (RDSa.L: ) and Royal Dutch Shell B (RDSb.L: ) shares
all lost their payout attractions.

Power suppliers International Power (IPR.L: ) and Centrica
(CNA.L: ) fell 4.3 and 3 percent, respectively, after Deutsche
Bank downgraded its recommendations on both firm’s to “hold”
from “buy”.

British shop price inflation accelerated sharply in April,
driven by commodity prices rises, the reversal of a cut in
value-added tax and the weak pound, a BRC survey showed on
Wednesday. [ID:nLDE6431HX]

The rate at which British recruiters filled permanent
vacancies slipped last month from March’s 12-year peak as the
public sector appeared poised to rein in hiring, a Recruitment
and Employment Confederation survey showed on Wednesday.
[ID:nLDE6431UX]

Across the Atlantic, the U.S. April ADP national employment
survey is scheduled for release at 1215 GMT, and April’s
Challenger layoffs survey is due at 1130 GMT. Both are key ahead
of Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls.

Stock Market Money

(Editing by Hans Peters)

FTSE lower for 4th session; banks, oils weak