The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) fell 127 points to 6,683 during early trading this morning on the worsening crisis in Ukraine. The key question, as it pertains to the market, is how can the Ukrainian economy be saved? Investors are spooked with Ukraine needing $35bn in the next two years to avoid defaulting on debt.
Closer to home, a meeting later this week will confirm the latest companies to secure a place among the FTSE 100 blue-chips, as well as who will be relegated. Tate & Lyle looks likely to be a casualty, cementing its ‘yo-yo’ status, having moved up and down 12 times in total.
Replacing it should be St Jame’s Place, the money manager with a market cap of £4.5bn, whose shares have risen 80% over the last year. On Friday the company closed at a record high 875p following well received final results.
The recent fortunes of these three FTSE 100 members haven’t been so rosy:
Shares in Rolls Royce (LSE: RR) plunged 16% in February on the back of disappointing final results. For the first time in 10 years the firm expects to see flat revenue and profit as defence spending cuts hit, which stunned the market, having previously forecast 5% profit growth.
Things aren’t getting much better after it was reported today that the firm is facing a fresh corruption inquiry into alleged bribery in Asia.
It was a familiar outcome for industry peer BAE Systems (LSE: BA), although the slide wasn’t quite so steep, as the aerospace firm saw revenue fall £700m below analyst forecasts. Immediately after the results were published shares slumped 10% to 390p although the price has now recovered to 409p.
Despite poor results, investors can be given cheer that — even after a flat 2014 — BAE still trades on a forward P/E of 10, with strong dividend yields of above 5% expected in the next couple of years.
Capping things off is Barclays (LSE: BARC) (NYSE: BCS.US), which unveiled a 33% drop in profit earlier this month, as performance from its investment bank sagged. Over the course of the month shares in Barclays dropped 7%, while over 12 months shares are down 17%.
Unlike some of the other big banks — which are part owned by the taxpayer — Barclays pays a dividend to shareholders. It narrowly avoided being bailed out by the government during the financial crisis, unlike Lloyds and RBS. That dividend, therefore, is one of Barclays’ most attractive features, and it is forecast to rise to 9.5p in 2014.
It’s never easy…
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> Mark does not own shares in any company mentioned.