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Should I have inherited some of my husband’s state pension after his death? Fresh worries over the health of the US economy dragged the London market lower today despite signs of a revival in heavyweight bid activity. The FTSE 100 Index closed 10. 3 – its fourth negative session in a row – after it emerged that US homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market sunk to the lowest level in more than a year. The report added to uncertainty on Wall Street after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2. Friday due to disappointment over the second quarter results posted by two of the country’s big banks.
BP also weighed on the top flight in London after the discovery of seepage and possible methane gas near the site of its damaged well, which was capped for the first time since April on Thursday. The US government earlier asked BP to come up with a plan for the reopening of the capped well but has instead allowed the company to carry out another 24 hours of monitoring. Nerves in the banking sector were also in evidence after Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup revealed on Friday that investment banking revenues dropped in the quarter, fuelling concerns about the performance of Barclays and other major banks with similar activities. The results of European bank stress tests due to be announced at the end of this week were also on the minds of investors, although Barclays later recovered to stand 0.
3p, while Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 0. This was after the body charged with managing the taxpayer-owned banking assets said it had hired leading investment banker Jim O’Neil to oversee the sale of stakes in Lloyds and RBS. The biggest rise in the top flight came from International Power after it emerged that it had reopened talks over a potential combination with GDF Suez. 325p-per-share from a consortium comprising US private equity firm Onex Corporation and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The UK firm – a former member of the FTSE 100 – said the due diligence process was at an advanced stage as shares rose 63. 9bn takeover move fuelled interest in fellow industrial products firm Invensys, which climbed 7.
5p to 11p, after it revealed the Pensions Regulator had rejected its proposal to resolve a funding deficit. The biggest Footsie risers were International Power up 33. 2p at 350p, Invensys ahead 7. 8p, Standard Chartered up 34p at 1740p and Rio Tinto ahead 43. The biggest fallers were BP down 19.