UK stocks fell to close down again today as concerns grow that war in Iraq will last for months not ...
UK stocks fell to close down again today as concerns grow that war in Iraq will last for months not weeks, and hinder the anticipated retail and consumer recovery.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index lost 64 points or 1.7% to 3729.1, led in part Boots, the high street pharmacy, lost 5.7% to 545 pence after revealing pretax earnings forecast excludes the £55m cost of shutting its Wellbeing Services unit and closing other stores.
Austin Reed Group fared much better and leapt 19.5p or 17% to 135p after receiving an approach which could lead to a takeover of the company.
Edinburgh Fund Managers Group, which last year suffered the loss of several large investment mandates, also fell 5p or 6.5% to 72.5p, having posted its first loss in at least 18 years and scrapped its dividend.
Hedge fund managers Man Group, in contrast, rose 50.5p or 5.5% to 969.5p as 2003 earnings are expected to exceed analysts forecasts by more than 15%.
Mid-caps company Waste Recycling, as the name suggests, is up 52.5p to 252.5p as it is now in takeover talks with Terra Firma, headed by Guy Hands - the man behind the proposed takeover of the Dome site in North Greenwich. Such moves by Hands are seen as an indicator that the market might be improving if the venture capital guru is prepared to enter the market now.
And Wolverhampton & Dudley climbed 10.5p or 1.9% to 574p after declaring the first 26 weeks of its financial year are likely to meet expectations.
While Sportingbet, the internet betting firm, has also fallen a further 9.5p or 27% to 26p. The company argues "unfavourable" sports results hurt their margins.
Concerns about the war have struck trading in the US too, as rumours of the battle in Iraq lasting months begin to spread and concerns emerge that oil prices will remain high.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is currently down 5.92 points or 0.7% to 864.03, led by Microsoft and General Electric, two of the companies which could be worst hit by lower consumer spending. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is also down 70.17 points or 0.9% to 8150.04 while the Nasdaq has dropped 10.16 points or 0.7% to 1377.29.
Head of UK intermediary distribution
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