Market report: City switches off to suffering energy firms after Miliband pledges to lower bills further

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In addition to already announced plans for a price freeze, the Labour leader wants to give regulator Ofgem the power to force energy providers to pass cuts in wholesale prices onto the customer. That’s bad news for the energy companies, who claim they already operate on slim margins and need excess cash for investment. British Gas-owner Centrica dropped 3.6p to 237.8p, and SSE was off 25p to 1465.5p.

The FTSE 100 ended the week flat, down 2.26 points at 6758.81, with little happening to move it either way.

Oil companies continued to suffer, with BG Group off 13p at 825.8p, BP down 4.25p at 421.57p and Shell 12.5p lower at 2040p.

Costa coffee and Premier Inn-owner Whitbread jumped 105p to 5360p thanks to endorsements from both UBS and Deutsche Bank.

Air conditioning specialist Wolseley rose 44p to 4094p as Barclays said there is a “multi-year opportunity” for it to expand in the US.

BlackRock revealed it now has a 5% stake in commodities giant Glencore, up 0.8p at 286.42p.

Thomas Cook rose 7.3p to 155.9p after an upgrade from Redburn. Regional airline Flybe also improved 2.5p to 59.5p and traders said positive results from airline operator Dart Group helped both, with hopes that they could provide a snapshot of the industry. Jet2 airline-owner Dart said summer booking are already 50% full, a better performance than this time last year. Dart, up 41.75p at 350.12p, also said profits for the present year are set to be above forecasts thanks to lower-than-anticipated winter losses.

The strong performance from challenger bank Aldermore continued on its first day of unconditional trading today, rising 3.5p to 222.87p. Filings revealed that investment firm Kames Capital took a 3% chunk of the lender in its float, as shares were offered at 192p.

Oil and gas operator Soco International continued to fall on the back of yesterday’s disappointing figures, dipping 10.1p to 148.3p.

Fuel cell maker AFC Energy obviously impressed at its media and private client broker meeting yesterday — shares managed to tick up 4.87p to 21.75p today.

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March 13, 2015 |
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