If it wasn't for good news at AstraZeneca this morning, the FTSE 100 would be looking decidedly sick...
If it wasn't for good news at AstraZeneca this morning, the FTSE 100 would be looking decidedly sick for the start of this week's trading.
AstraZeneca has leapt 281p or 13.6% to £23.49 within the first hour of trading after a US judge upheld patents on its ulcer drug, Prosilec, boosting confidence that the pharmaceutical does a case to fight when rival companies make cheap generic copies of a drug.
But the FTSE 100 rose just 2.50 points or 0.06% to 3955.90 in early trading, suggesting the market is facing another tough day.
Of those companies that have climbed, Abbey National Plc climbed 27.5p or 4.4% to 649.5p as it is likely to reject yet another takeover bid from the Bank of Ireland.
HP Bulmer Holdings, the cider maker, plunged 89p or 46% to 106.5p as the company is unlikely to see profits meet analysts forecasts for year end April 2003 , thanks to rising pension costs and slowing overseas sales.
Producers of Bob the Builder and Pingu, HIT Entertainment, gained 11.5p or 5.5% to 220p as full-year profits rose more than 12 times on its two key brands and Barney.
Less than positive is news that Marconi has finally given up.The UK phone equipment maker will give lenders control of the company in return for about £4bn of debt, as well as signing a contract with MMO2 to build a radio network in Germany. What is left of their share value fell 0.02p or 1.3% to 1.48p.
And Somerfield lost 38p or 40% to 57p after Friday night's bar gossip was confirmed. Ceo of 1300 stores Alan Smith agreed to step down to pursue other business interests.
US stocks finally managed to close up on Friday and may do so again this week, as third quarter earnings are due this week and there are several reports earnings forecasts were cut too far in earlier panic.
Around a third of S&P 500 members, including Citigroup, Coca-Cola and Microsoft report their results this week.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed 3.9% and Dow Jones closed up from five-year lows on Friday, after Aetna and Yahoo! said profits topped estimates, along with General Electric which matched projections.
Unsurprisingly, Indonesian stocks have slumped and the Jakarta composite index looks set for its biggest drop in more than four years, as there is serious concern terrorism - following the bomb blast in Bali - may derail the country's economic recovery.
The benchmark sank 9.1% to 342.12, while elsewhere in Asia, Samsung Electronics, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and other computer-related stocks advanced after a US stock rally helped to lift confidence in the potential for overseas sales.
South Korea's Kospi index also climbed 4.6% its biggest gain in eight months, and Taiwan's TWSE index gained 1.6% while the Singapore Straits index rose 0.8%.
Financial markets in Japan and Hong Kong are closed today for public holidays.
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