The FTSE 100 index dropped almost 20 points before recovering to its opening 3,590.10 points level i...
The FTSE 100 index dropped almost 20 points before recovering to its opening 3,590.10 points level in the first hour of trading as investors continued selling insurance stocks ahead of US secretary of state Colin Powell's address to the UN later today.
Powell says he will present evidence if Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in contravention of resolutions demanding the disarmament.
Insurance stocks are still smarting from yesterday's news that American International, usually considered to be on top of its game as an insurer, has had to take a surprise hit to earnings to boost reserves as the costs of, for example, asbestos litigation rise.
Royal & Sun Alliance dropped another 3p to 93p in London, and Friends Provident shed 2p to 89.25p.
Invensys leads the losers, however, with a 3p fall to 44p after it appointed new managers to its hydrocarbons business, supplying tools to oil companies.
And Amvescap continues to feel the heat from its poor results released yesterday morning, shedding another 16.5p to 307p.
Scottish Power released better results, which pleased analysts even as the firm's chief executive warned that UK wholesale electricity prices are unlikely to rise for several year because of a glut of supply – shares are up 6p to 338p.
GUS is up 7p to 507p on plans to sell debt this week, which should boost reserves, and MmO2 is up 0.5p on news it has found a buyer for its Dutch operations.
The FTSE 250 is down 13 points to 4,033, with a number of software and telecoms stocks leading the way.
Autonomy is down 5p to 130p, Carphone Warehouse is down 2.25p to 66.25p and Dimension Data is down 0.75p to 22.75p.
Wilson Connolly is up 4p to 138p after yet another report saying UK house prices continue to remain strong.
Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average index dropped 96.53 points to 8,013.29.
The S&P 500 index lost 12.12 points to 848.20, while Nasdaq's Composite fell 17.64 to 1,306.15.
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