Business

RBS leads FTSE 100 lower as losses mount

Market trader (file picture) Image copyright Getty Images

Royal Bank of Scotland led the London market lower after it reported its ninth straight year of losses.

Shares in RBS fell 4.5% after the bank reported a £7bn loss for 2016, far worse than the £2bn deficit posted in the previous year.

At the close, the FTSE 100 index was down 27.67 points at 7,243.70.

Pearson shares staged a recovery as investors reacted to its full-year loss of £2.6bn. After falling in early trade they rebounded to stand 1.7% higher.

The education services company has been hit by a downturn in sales of text books in the US, but Pearson said it had not seen any further deterioration in trading.

Airline group IAG - which owns British Airways and Iberia - saw its shares rise 4.5% after it reported pre-tax profits of 2.4bn euros, despite being hit by the weaker pound.

In the FTSE 250, shares in property website Rightmove fell 5.8%, despite it reporting an 18% rise in operating profit to £161.6m.

Rightmove also announced that Peter Brooks-Johnson, currently the company's chief operating officer, would take over as chief executive when Nick McKittrick retires in May.

Shares in William Hill were up 2.5% after the bookmaker reported a slight increase in annual pre-tax profits to £225.6m.

However, operating profits fell 10% to £261.5m amid tough competition and following a number of unfavourable sports results.

The company - which has been without a permanent chief executive since last July - said it expected to name a new head "in a few weeks' time".

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.49% against the US dollar at $1.2495 and fell 0.52% against the euro to 1.1807 euros.