Updates from RBS, William Hill and Heritage Oil

Doom descended on all markets yesterday with the FTSE 100 losing down -55.93 points; it finished at 5,566. The biggest plunger was Anglo American, down -5.15%.

Overnight in Asia, the worry continues - more poor economic data - with the Hong Kong Hang Seng losing -1% while the South Korean Kospi gave away -2%.
A quiet day for individual company results - but not for bank news. UK banks have responded quickly to Moody's decision to slash the rankings of four of the UK's biggest high street banks. RBS responded this morning with a stock exchange statement.

"The Group disagrees with Moody's ratings change which the Group feels is backward-looking and does not give adequate credit for the substantial improvements the Group has made to its balance sheet, funding and risk profile."

Nonetheless RBS believes the impacts of this downgrade are manageable, "bearing in mind its £153 billion liquidity portfolio. The amount of collateral that may have to be posted following this one notch downgrade by Moody's is estimated to be £9 billion as of 31 May 2012."

Next, William Hill says it has been granted non-restricted gaming licences by the Nevada Gaming Commission. It also confirms the likely completion of acquisitions American Wagering, Inc, Brandywine Bookmaking LLC (Brandywine) and the racing and sports book assets of Sierra Developments (trading as Cal Neva), to occur on 27 June 2012 for £31m.

The Nevada licence "enables us to establish William Hill's first ever US operation," says chief exec Ralph Topping, "as an important part of our international growth strategy. We will now bring together these three businesses to create a leading position in the Nevada sports betting market, combining our brand and product range with AWI's, Brandywine's and Cal Neva's extensive Nevada footprint."

Finally, Heritage Oil says it has commenced drilling the Miran West-4 appraisal well in Kurdistan with an estimated target depth of about 1,550 metres. The planned extended well test will sell up to 5,000 barrels of oil per day into the local market generating cash flow from the field, it says.

"Following the highly successful Miran West-3 test results, the spudding of Miran West-4 continues our active work programme in Kurdistan," says chief exec Tony Buckingham. "We remain focused on the monetisation of the world class Miran Field, targeting the phased development of the field, whilst also considering further value generating opportunities."

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