FTSE 100 struggles, NatWest shares plunge amid 'Serious Failings' and guidance Cut

The FTSE 100 opened lower this morning as NatWest shares took a nosedive following a reduction in annual guidance and revelations of ‘serious failings’ in the handling of Nigel Farage’s Coutts account. The blue-chip index opened down 0.1% at 7,349.66 points, while the FTSE 250 showed a modest 0.1% increase at 16,800.44, and the AIM All-Share rose by 0.5% to 673.34.

NatWest saw a significant 17% decline, making it the worst performer on the FTSE 100 index. Despite reporting a rise in total income to £3.49 billion from £3.23 billion a year earlier and an increase in operating pretax profit to £1.33 billion from £1.09 billion, NatWest cut its margin outlook for the year. The bank now anticipates a full-year bank net interest margin ‘to be greater than 3%’, a significant revision from its previous prediction of an outcome below 3.20%.

Competitor banks were not spared from the market downturn, with Lloyds seeing a 2.7% drop and Barclays shedding 2.0%.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) also faced a 3.3% decrease despite reporting positive financial results. IAG revealed a rise in revenue to €8.65 billion from €7.33 billion a year earlier and a 57% surge in pretax profit to €1.58 billion from €1.01 billion. The company expressed optimism about a strong recovery in 2023, with fourth-quarter customer bookings aligning with expectations.

In the FTSE 250, Digital 9 Infrastructure saw a notable 9% increase in its shares following plans for a potential divestment of its stake in the Verne Global group of companies. The move came after the company consulted with shareholders, aiming to enhance shareholder value.

Meanwhile, on AIM, FireAngel shares soared to 6.28 pence from 2.10p after the company announced its takeover agreement with Intelligent Safety Electronics (ISE). Under the deal, FireAngel shareholders will receive 7.40p per share in cash, valuing the company at approximately £27.7 million. FireAngel Chair Andrew Blazye expressed confidence in the partnership, emphasizing its potential to bolster FireAngel’s long-term success.