UK stockmarket activity started the day badly but ended with a gain, as trading managed to pull back...
UK stockmarket activity started the day badly but ended with a gain, as trading managed to pull back from a 1.6% decline in early moves.
Banks such as Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds TSB Group led the gains on optimism that the worst of their share-price declines may be over.
The FTSE 100 added 25 points, or 0.6%, to 4605.3, having earlier dropped to its lowest level for nine months at 4506.3 points. It was gains for Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Barclays which accounted for around half of today's index's rise, but the week end down 0.6% this week.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second-largest bank, climbed 53 pence, or 3 percent, to 1,810p. Before today, it had lost 15 percent since this year's high on May 3. Barclays, the U.K.'s No. 3 bank, rose 20p, or 3.8 percent, to 541p after shedding 16 percent between May 27 and yesterday. Lloyds TSB, the No. 5 bank in the U.K., advanced 18p, or 2.9 percent, to 642p.
EMI Group advanced 10p, or 4.3%, to 244p as the music company is expected to make a €43m profit by selling its 15 percent stake in German music television channel Viva Media to AOL Time Warner.
JJB Sports slid to a 14-month low as the sports-goods chain lost 8.5p, or 2.6%, to 322.5p after the England soccer team bowed out of the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil.
Sportingbet.com, a UK internet sports-betting company, saw gains of 14p, or 16%, to 101p because England lost 2-1 to Brazil, saving gambling companies from paying out to people betting on England winning the match and the tournament.
And SMG, Scotland's largest media group, rose 8.5p, or 6.4%, to 140.5p. Scotland's largest media company said second-quarter advertising revenue is expected to rise 4%, a sign that the worst industry slump in at least a decade may be easing.
News is not as positive, however, from the US, as the S&P 500 index continues its longest weekly losing streak since March 2001.
Merck & Co, the healthcare firm, seemed to do the most damage as a report in the Wall Street Journal suggested accounting methods not used by rivals were the reason revenue was boosted.
And International Business Machines Corp. declined after a Lehman Brothers analyst cut earnings estimates for the world's biggest computer maker.
The S&P 500 fell 9.88 points, or 1%, to 996.41, by close of UK business, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 95.05 points, or 1%, to 9336.72 and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 8.54, or 0.6%, to 1456.21.
For the week, the S&P 500 has slipped 1% overall, bringing its five-week decline to 9.9% and its year-to-date loss to 13%. The first half of 2002 ends next week, and the benchmark's drop this year would be its biggest first-half decline since 1970.
The Dow has also lost 1.4% on the week, bringing its five-week drop to 9.8% and a total loss of 6.8% for the year, while the Nasdaq has now lost 3.1% loss this week and extended its year-to-date drop to 25%.
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