Why Standard Life plc, Banco Santander SA and BT Group plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is currently down 47 points at 6752 on the day RBS posted its final results. The bank is the biggest blue-chip faller today on a loss of £8.2bn followed next by RSA, which fell 3%, as the new CEOs of both companies plot turnarounds.

Not many blue-chips are up this morning with over 90% of FTSE 100 companies trading down as I write. This will mark the Footsie’s third day of losses after the index reached a 14 year high on Monday. I wouldn’t panic, mind — the trend will up again soon enough.

These are some of the other notable fallers:

Standard Life

ScotlandStandard Life (LSE: SL), in its annual report published today, indicated that after being headquartered in Scotland for 189 years, where it employs 5,000 people, it may be forced to move if Scottish people vote in favour of independence. While the firm didn’t offer any stance on the issue, the chief executive commented : “This is a precautionary measure to ensure continuity of our businesses’ competitive position and to protect the interests of our stakeholders.”

The firm, which is the UK’s biggest provider of defined contribution pensions, manages around £240bn of assets in total. So far it is the first major business to warn it could leave Scotland in the event of a ‘yes’ vote for independence. BP boss Bob Dudley has remarked “all business have a concern” about the upcoming referendum. Shares in Standard Life dropped 3% to 374p.


Shares in Santander (LSE: BNC) (NYSE: SAN.US) fell 2% to 535p as the bank prepares to sell its first contingent convertible bond, which is a security, similar to traditional convertible bond, but will only convert into equity if Santander’s capital ratio falls below 5%.

Over the past year Santander has almost doubled net profits to £3.6bn, bolstered by growth shoots in the Spanish economy, which appears to be moving on from the recession. Santander is hoping to capitalise on Spain’s momentum with Spanish banks sprinting in a race for capital.

Over the previous 12 months shares in Santander have risen 8%.


BTWith so many stocks trading down, it’s difficult to pinpoint any specific reason for certain shares. Nerves on the whole are jittery. BT (LSE: BT-A) shares lost 1% to 409p in early trade this morning but longer term the stock has performed well, up 51% on this time last year.

Last month the firm returned to growth for the first time in almost five years, boosted by a hot broadband market, with £2.5m customers taking up the BT Sport offer.

It’s not for me to suggest whether any of these companies are bad investments. The market has its ups and downs, as we all know.

But at the heart of any portfolio should be shares that can withstand more seismic levels of volatility. That way, no matter what the market does, your income stays safe.

Five such companies are written about in this exclusive wealth report.

To find out more -- it's absolutely free, with no obligation -- simply click here.

> Mark does not own shares in any company mentioned.