Weak banks, miners drag FTSE lower; oils up

* FTSE down 0.5 percent; miners go into reverse

* Banks weak; Barclays down as update disappoints

* Oils up as crude recovers; BP stays weak

By Jon Hopkins

LONDON, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index was lower at midday
on Friday as an early rally by miners evaporated and banks weakened, weighed
down by a disappointing update from Barclays, and as the euro zone debt crisis
hit sentiment.

At 1114 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was down 28.65 points, or 0.5
percent at 5,589.19, having closed 31.23 points, or 0.6 percent higher on
Thursday.

Barclays (BARC.L: ) was the top FTSE 100 faller, shedding 5.5 percent after a
first-quarter trading update. [ID:nLDE63S0UM]

JPMorgan lowered its earnings estimates for Barclays and said the “main area
of disappointment” was Barclays Capital, which reported a profit before tax of
1.712 billion pounds ($2.63 billion), versus its estimate of 2.179 billion
pounds.

Banks were the main overall drag on the blue chips, with HSBC (HSBA.L: ),
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) down 1.2 and
2.2 percent, although Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ) managed to gain 0.4 percent.

Euro zone finance ministers will discuss Greece’s debt crisis on Friday as
Athens finalises details of deep budget cuts it has pledged in return for a
multi-billion euro aid package from the European Union and IMF.

Greece is preparing severe austerity measures to secure the bailout of up to
120 billion euros ($159.8 billion), which investors hope will stop the debt
crisis from sinking other fragile EU countries, but faces a battle with unions
angered by the scale of cutbacks. [ID:nLDE63T0IC]

“It rather looks like we have surrendered to the sentiment surrounding the
Greek debt crisis,” said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves
Lansdown.

“Obviously there is much political bargaining going on, and the longer it
goes on, the more difficult it will be resolve the situation, let alone any
degree of contagion,” Hunter said.

Miners went into reverse with an early rally snuffed out as investors’ risk
appetite ebbed, with Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ), Vedanta Resources (VED.L: ), BHP Billiton
(BLT.L: ), and Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) losing 1.4 to 2.4 percent.

Integrated oils provided a bit of a floor for the blue chips, supported by a
firmer crude price (CLc1: ), with BG Group (BG.L: ) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: )
up 0.9 and 1.8 percent, respectively, aided by recent results.

But BP (BP.L: ) stayed under pressure, down 1.4 percent on mounting anxiety
over the cost of the oil spill from one of the company’s wells in the Gulf of
Mexico. [ID:nN29137510]

And oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW.L: ) shed 3.5 percent, knocked by a Deutsche
Bank downgrade to “hold” from “buy”.

A broker downgrade also weighed on outsourcing firm Capita Group (CPI.L: ),
off 1.7 percent, as Morgan Stanley cut its rating to “underweight” from
“equal-weight”.

WPP WANTED

Advertising giant WPP Group (WPP.L: ) was the top FTSE 100 riser, up 2.5
percent after a bullish trading update in which it raised its key like-for-like
full-year revenue forecast after a strong turnaround in the United States.
[ID:nLDE63S0VY]

Publishing group Pearson (PSON.L: ) added 1.2 percent as it said it was
confident underlying profit would gow this year after first-quarter revenues
rose 12 percent. [ID:nLDE63S2K0]

Fellow publisher Reed Elsevier gained 1.2 percent.

And beverage can maker Rexam (REX.L: ) gained 1.2 percent helped by a UBS
upgrade to “buy” from “neutral” ahead of an upcoming trading update.

U.S. stock futures (.SPC1: ), (.DJI: ) pointed to a mixed open on Friday, with
investors focused on the first reading for U.S. first-quarter GDP, due at 1230
GMT, with the median forecast for a +3.4 percent annualised rate versus +5.6
percent in the fourth quarter. [ID:nN27140267]

Stock Market

(Editing by Rupert Winchester)

Weak banks, miners drag FTSE lower; oils up