London: London Stock Exchange Group halted its $773.3 million share buy-back programme on Thursday, sending shares lower even as it announced a 57% rise in operating profit.
“Following the significant changes in global financial market conditions, it is currently prudent to retain a more robust balance sheet and to provide financial flexibility to pursue investment opportunities,” it said.
Markets would remain “difficult and uncertain”, the British bourse said, just as a spate of new market entrants are forcing it to cut fees.
By 1:55pm, LSE stock was down 9.2%. The FTSE 100 Index of blue chips was 0.4% weaker.
LSE shares have fallen 70% since the start of the year, a sign of concern that increasing competition after the introduction of new European Union financial rules, known as MiFID, will put the bourse’s revenue under pressure.
“We believe the impact of competition will not be limited to trading but will be extended to its information services division as well,” said MF Global analyst Mamoun Tazi.
For the six months ending September, the British bourse said operating profit before amortisation and exceptionals rose by 57% to $278.2 million, above Reuters Estimates forecasts of 164 million pounds.