RBS leads FTSE 100 lower as losses mount

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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.