Shares in BSkyB were rooted firmly at the foot of FTSE 100 performers on Thursday as it revealed that its Sky News channel admitted to illegally hacking emails. Rumours surfaced in mid afternoon and the shares mysteriously started to decline further towards the close, despite a rebound at the time elsewhere. Eventually they closed 3.5% lower at 635.5p as Sky News announced officially that it had hacked emails of members of the public on at least two occasions, including those of infamous ‘canoe-man’ John Darwin. The revelations will heap further pressure on the Murdoch family and James in particular who resigned from his Chairman’s position at the broadcaster just two days earlier.
The FTSE itself had rather a bumpy day, initially paring some of the previous day’s losses before heading in to negative territory again on poor data from the manufacturing sector and continued worries over the state of Spanish finances. Despite managing to refinance most of its debt needs for the year already, attention turned to a potential need for bailout in order to recapitalise its banks should they be subject to dramatic properly loan write downs. The mere possibility making a mockery of recent European Banking Commission ‘Stress Tests’ that deemed Spanish banks capable of weathering any storm.
Fortunately a stellar set of weekly US jobless claims reinvigorated global equities, which then rallied throughout the afternoon, with the FTSE heading in to Easter with a 20 point gain at 5723.6.