Shares fell steeply in London today as investors locked in profits following yesterday's bounce ahea...
Shares fell steeply in London today as investors locked in profits following yesterday's bounce ahead of tomorrow's Budget from chancellor Gordon Brown.
The FTSE 100 closed down 67 points at 3,868.80 as some 88 stocks registered losses against just 8 making gains.
WPP, one of yesterday's best performers, dropped 33.5p to 373p as fears grew that advertising spending in the US, its biggest market, is not poised for a general pickup.
BAE systems was fingered as a possible winner from the billions committed by Gordon Brown to fund British forces' involvement in the war in Iraq, but poor Revenue tax receipts could have the opposite effect too, putting pressure on military budgets in the coming year, and shares dropped 9p to 121.75p.
And in a tale of two retailers, Marks&Spencer got hammered down 14.5p to 280.75p after unveiling a stall in earnings growth.
Tesco, on the other hand, unveiled another record amount of profit, sending its shares up 8p to 197.25p.
It was only pipped to the post by Xstrata, which gained 26p to 566p to make it today's best performer after a move on fellow Australian miner MIM and reports that the local government has already given its blessing to the deal.
Canary Wharf may be putting its dog days behind it after JPMorgan upgraded its recommendation on the stock, pushing shares up 5p to 155p.
The FTSE 250 fell 26.9 points to 4,235.
Tech stocks led the rout, with Autonomy, once a FTSE 100 member, leading the losers with a 15p fall to 149p after analysts at SG Cowen cut their recommendation to 'neutral' from 'buy'.
Oil minnow SOCO led the gainers with a 26p gain to 385p – this follows two weeks of share dealings involving directors, and comes despite steep falls in crude oil prices brought about by advances on Baghdad by US forces in the war in Iraq.
Shares in the US are trading down this afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently 9 points adrift at 8,290.
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