Equities slide towards close

The equity benchmark in London got the week off to a good start but drifted lower towards the close.

The reporting season is just kicking off on this side of the Atlantic, and traders initially bought stocks with the expectation that corporate results would be strong given the largely positive updates from US corporations.

Low fares airline Ryanair announced an increase in revenues but a decline in profits due to higher fuel costs. The company recently had its takeover attempt of Irish rival Aer Lingus knocked back by the competition authority. The share price is down 3%.

Property group Hammerson stated that its net asset value has increased by 1.7% to 551p. The stock is trading at 521p, flat on the day.

The banking sector is the worst performer, as traders sold banking stocks ahead of the results this week. Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland are announcing their results on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

In the US, the Dow is down 60 points at 15,498, despite the US announcing better-than-expected pending home sales. Dealers sold their equity positions as it was a decline on the previous month.

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