Updates from BP, Vice Media and Kellan Group

Adrian Holliday
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100
savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, cash, investment FTSE 100

A tiny 4.39-point climb for the FTSE 100 on Thursday, taking it to 6,877.9. Standard Life saw the biggest surge by some margin, up more than 8% - to 417.20p - on news it was off-loading its Canadian interests for £2.2bn. SABMiller saw a 3% rise to 3460p. However investors sold BP down heavily, tumbling almost 6% to 455p on accusations of gross negligence from a US judge.

Across the water, the Dow Jones dropped just eight points to 17,069.5 with retailers like Home Depot taking the biggest lifts.

We start, as mentioned, with bad news for BP. New Orleans judge Carl Barbier found not just BP "negligent" but also subcontractors Halliburton and Transocean. BP has put aside $43bn for legal costs but there is concern BP could be more financially exposed as the arguing continues.

"The law," said BP, responding, "is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case. BP believes that an impartial view of the record does not support the erroneous conclusion reached by the District Court."

BP's share price has been crushed as a result, falling 5.94% yesterday to 455.20p. There's also more trouble from a class action lawsuit being led by UK investors, including pension funds from London borough councils.

Next, Vice Media - investors include Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox - has secured more than £300m in a deal that ups the value of its arts and multimedia business to $2.5bn.

The new cash - from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures - will support new video content across TV, mobile and online. All a long way from its Canadian music magazine origins.

"We believe," says boss Shane Smith, "that these new partnerships position us at the forefront of the coming convergence of media and technology, while preserving and protecting our independence."

Finally, Kellan Group claims it achieved year on year net fee income growth of 6% with £3.9 million compared with £3.7 million in H1 2013.

Savings were made by streamlining administrative expenses resulting in an 18.6% reduction compared to the year before.

"The restructure," it says, "of our property portfolio with the strategic closure and consolidation of five offices during 2014 and investment in new premises has also enabled a realigned focus on core growing markets in key locations."

Read more:
New law to name and shame tax evaders
Overdraft fees 'too high or unfair'
Interest rates held at 0.5% yet again

Carney: 'Interest Rates Would Settle After Any Rises'
Carney: 'Interest Rates Would Settle After Any Rises'