MARKET REPORT: Pilots’ strike sees British Airways lose 300k passengers

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MARKET REPORT: Pilots’ strike sees British Airways lose 300k passengers as parent company IAG warns profits will be hit

The first pilots’ strike in British Airways’ 100-year history knocked more than the airline’s reputation.

Some 300,000 fewer passengers flew with BA last month, taking the total down from 4.2m in September last year to 3.9m this time around.

Pilots went on strike over pay on September 9 and 10, as well as lining up a third day on September 27 that was later cancelled.

Pilots's  strikes: Some 300,000 fewer passengers flew with BA last month, taking the total down from 4.2m in September last year to 3.9m this time around

Pilots’s  strikes: Some 300,000 fewer passengers flew with BA last month, taking the total down from 4.2m in September last year to 3.9m this time around

The strikes have cost more than £120million and BA’s parent company, IAG, has already warned full-year profits will be hit by the action.

But despite September’s 8 per cent fall, passenger numbers so far this year are up 1.2 per cent to 36.2million.

And IAG’s total passenger figures – incorporating airlines such as Iberia and Vueling – were up 0.6 per cent in September and 4.9 per cent so far this year, to 90.4m.

The overall rise sent IAG’s shares to the top of the Footsie leader board as they closed up 3.1 per cent, or 13.9p, at 468.6p.

Sirius Minerals lifted 4.6 per cent, or 0.17p, to 3.82p after chief executive Chris Fraser said the troubled Yorkshire fertiliser miner has cut 300 jobs and believes the company will have a good idea of alternative financing options by the end of this month.

Stock Watch – Bezant Resources 

Bezant Resources has struck a conditional deal to sell an 80 per cent stake in its Mankayan copper and gold project in the Philippines to a private Singaporean firm.

Mining And Minerals Industries Holdings (MMIH) will put up to £5million towards project funding. 

And due to a separate agreement MMIH had already made with a firm that is listed in Singapore, Bezant could also get £5.9million of shares in the public company.

Bezant rocketed 48.2 per cent, or 0.07p, to 0.2p.

Eddie Stobart’s major shareholder DBAY Advisors was given more time to decide if it wants to make an offer to take over the trucking group.

It has until October 16 to decide if it wants to make a move on Eddie Stobart, whose shares have been suspended since August after an accounting error was found.

Power station group Drax ended down 0.7 per cent, or 2p, at 283.8p despite a block on building four gas-fired turbines being over-ruled by the Government.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent, or 36.53 points, to 7191.91, while the FTSE 250 fell 0.3 per cent, or 58.98 points, to 19,421.39.

Meanwhile, broker notes moved some of the Footsie’s biggest stocks. Cruise ship operator Carnival dropped 1.2 per cent, or 37p, to 3130p after HSBC cut it from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’, while Sainsbury’s rose 0.3 per cent, or 0.7p, to 210.8p after Shore Capital Markets bumped it up from ‘sell’ to ‘hold’ and praised boss Mike Coupe’s ‘candour and honesty in setting out realistic expectations for the group’ in the wake of its failed merger with Asda.

Investors were unmoved after student accommodation provider Unite Group sold two high-end properties in Coventry to Singapore group Mapletree Investments for £96million. 

The Callice Court and Millennium View buildings can house 1,127 students between them. Unite shares closed down 0.1 per cent, or 1p, at 1082p.

Budget carrier Easyjet jumped 3 per cent, or 34.5p, to 1172.5p in anticipation of a trading update it will release today.

It is one of the travel companies earmarked to benefit from the collapse of Thomas Cook. But analysts will also want to see how much the firm has managed to cut costs that are unrelated to fuel.

Mining and commodities trading group Glencore slid 0.7 per cent, or 1.65p, to 225p, despite signing a five-year deal to supply cobalt to a Chinese battery materials group, Gem Co.

FTSE 250-listed miner Petra Diamonds had more success on the stock market yesterday. 

News that it has scheduled viewing times in November for prospective buyers to inspect a 20.08 carat blue diamond it recovered from its Cullinan mine last month sent shares surging 8.4 per cent, or 0.53p, to 6.83p by the close.

Over on AIM, meanwhile, podcast maker Audioboom fell 6.9 per cent, or 12.5p, to 167.5p, even though it posted a 127 per cent rise in revenue for the first nine months of the year, at £12.6million.

Fishing tackle purveyor Angling Direct, on the other hand, rose 2.6 per cent, or 1.5p, to 60p as revenue soared 21 per cent to £26.5million in the six months to July 31.

 

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