MARKETS: Barclays leads FTSE higher after CEO Jenkins goes

#AceMarketsNews – LONDON (Reuters) July.08: – A rally in Barclays after it ousted its chief executive helped FTSE 100 edge higher on Wednesday, but it remained near a six month low, as a rout in Chinese equities weighed on other lenders.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 11.87 points, or 0.2 percent at 6,444.08 by 0753 GMT, after posting its lowest close since mid-January in the previous session.

Barclays rose 3 percent after surprising markets by saying that Antony Jenkins would leave and a search for a new chief executive was under way, in an attempt to accelerate strategic change and boost shareholder returns.

Barclays was the top FTSE 100 riser, and the move added 1.3 billion pounds ($2.0 billion) to its market capitalisation.

“While a period of uncertainty until a successor is found would usually be a negative, the positive share price reaction suggests optimism that the replacement can better satisfy the board on the financial performance and strategic change front,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

Blue-chip banks also comprised the top fallers on the index, with Standard Chartered and HSBC both down 2.3 percent.

The Asian-focused lenders came under pressure after Chinese stocks plunged, with the country’s securities regulator warning investors were in the grip of “panic sentiment”.

“HSBC and Standard Chartered both have high levels of exposure in the area and their share prices are being marked back as a result (of the Chinese equities sell-off), whilst iron ore prices have also stumbled on the news,” said Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct.

The turmoil in the world’s biggest metals consumer also pegged back commodity stocks, with mining shares down 0.7 percent.

Weakness in commodity shares has hindered the FTSE 100’s performance so far this year, and it is down around 2 percent in 2015.

The index has fallen 10 percent from an all time high hit in late April, with the ongoing Greek debt crisis having knocked appetite for equities across the continent.

Euro zone members have given Greece until the end of the week to come up with a proposal for sweeping reforms in return for loans that will keep the country from crashing out of Europe’s currency bloc and into economic ruin.

Also in focus on Wednesday, British finance minister George Osborne will say how he plans to reshape the economy by chopping welfare spending, easing the tax bill for workers and tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the recovery.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Keith Weir)

Barclays leads FTSE higher after CEO Jenkins goes

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