Hedge funds are staking hundreds of millions of pounds on Lloyds Banking Group shares falling, amid fears the market is being too optimistic about the imminent European competition ruling and the bank’s planned rights issue.
Traders have borrowed an estimated £1.5bn of shares, amounting to 50pc of the stock available to borrow, according to figures from Data Explorers. Dealers say some of the stock on loan has already been used to place “short positions”, while other borrowed shares are being held in preparation to short the stock as soon as Lloyds announces its rights issue.
Shares in Lloyds have dropped 10pc this week following the decision by the European Commission to break up ING, the Dutch financial services giant. In order to gain approval from European competition authorities for the state-backed bail-out it received during the financial crisis, ING is selling its insurance business, which is thought to be worth up to £14bn. Shares in ING fell nearly 20pc on the news of the sale.
LONDON/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch financial group ING is in talks with the Dutch government about a state-backed cash injection estimated to be worth up to 9 billion euros ($12.12 billion), the Sunday Times reported.
The Netherlands’ biggest listed bank, which said on Friday that it was about to announce its first-ever quarterly loss, is expected to announce a deal in the next 24 hours, the paper reported.
ING’s Chief Executive Michel Tilmant was in talks with the Dutch central bank all day yesterday negotiating a deal, the Sunday Times said.