LONDON -- At one stage it looked as if the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) might be set to end its losing streak, but it turned tail again by Friday and lost 79 points (1.2%) overall to finish the week at 6,413. That's the fourth losing week in a row for the U.K.'s top index, with the Syrian crisis and panic over possible stimulus tapering among the things blamed for the latest drop. But how did individual companies fare during the week? Here are four of the biggest movers.
Perhaps the least surprising announcement of the week came from mobile-phone giant Vodafone, as the company is finally in talks with Verizon Communications with a view to selling its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Observers have been expecting a change of ownership for a long time now, and a sale to Verizon could make sense for both companies -- owning such a large stake but with no controlling power is widely seen as not in Vodafone's best interests. Vodafone stock responded with a 15 pence (7.6%) jump over the week to 206 pence.
The new CEO at security firm G4S, Ashley Almanza, is already stamping his authority in a drive to solve the company's severe debt issues, as the company announced a placing of approximately 141 million new shares representing up to 9.99% of the existing capital. The news came on first-half results day, which showed a 7% rise in sales but a 13% fall in EPS -- but Almanza told us that "growth was particularly strong in developing markets where we have excellent market positions." G4S shares ended the week 14 pence (5.7%) up, at 260 pence.
Serco Group (LSE:SRP)
Outsourcing specialist Serco Group suffered a 74 pence (12%) fall in its stock price, to 547.5 pence, after calling in the police following the misreporting of data for a prisoner escort contract. Two millions pounds of profit from the contract so far will be repaid, and the firm will forgo any future profits from it. The news spoiled an otherwise positive set of first-half results, which saw underlying revenues and adjusted pre-tax profit both up 11%.
Miners are once again out of favor, and a 39% slump in first-half earnings didn't help Antofagasta -- its shares dropped 60 pence (6.6%) on the week to 855 pence. Because of a 16% fall in realised copper prices, Antofagasta's revenue fell 12%, despite a rise in actual production volumes. But the company's net cash position has improved to $1.5 billion, and the interim dividend was lifted by 4.7% to 8.9 cents per share.
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