BP's Stock Price & the U.K. Economy


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Business Stock Market News: UK Flag with BP stock price graph

When the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig caught fire on April 20, BP's stock price (which barely budged that day) reflected a market capitalization of about $189 billion. About 40% of this wealth was held in the U.K.; much of it was held by retirees in pension funds and by individual investors who viewed BP as a safe and stable investment. As of June 22nd, BP's stock price has been cut in half. To understand the extent that this can have on the UK economy, consider the fact that this recent price reflects an investment loss to UK investors of about $38 billion (40% of a $95 billion loss). To put this in perspective, this loss of wealth is more than equivalent to 1½% of the UK's Gross Domestic Product for 2009.

To make matters worse for U.K. investors, BP has most likely canceled dividends for the remainder of 2010. According to the Daily Mail, "BP dividends account for around £1 in every £7 of share payouts from UK blue-chip firms and have not been slashed since 1992".

Forty percent of a $95 billion loss -- divided by 61 million UK citizens -- works out to about $623 per man, woman and child. It is easy to see, one reason, why many in U.K. have taken a keen interest in how events unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. The poor decisions of a few trusted individuals will surely effect the the UK economy and, more specifically, another large group of people.

The chart above uses statements gathered from Wikipedia's "Timeline of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill" in conjunction with BP's closing stock price each day. Some news occurred before the market opened and some occurred after the market's close. For weekends, I decided to let the chart run sideways (no change in price) in order to include the weekend's news. The date preceding each statement for weekend news is preceded with 'Sat.' or 'Sun.' to indicate that the market was closed these days. To get each day's statements to fit within the size constraints, some of the statements had to be consolidated. The intended purpose of this interactive chart is to study how news effects a stock price. Please consult the original Wikipedia article for complete statements and references.