After yesterday's dramatic drop on the FTSE 100 index, stocks are making little headway this morning but are led by improved profits for ICI.
The FTSE 100 index has so far gained just 9.5 points or 0.2% to 6019.5 in early trading as more share values are falling than rising this morning.
Imperial Chemical Industries is keeping the blue chips index afloat and has gained 5.1% to 289p after posting a first-quarter profit of £65m – above analysts expectations.
Dragging the index down, however, is AstraZeneca, the UK's second-largest pharmaceutical firm, as it has lost 1.6% to £29.28. The company has announced it will stop development of a new diabetes treatment after studies revealed it is unlikely to offer “significant advantage'' over current products.
In Asia, trading was dominated by the oil price again, as the continually pressure on the price per barrel has sparked fresh fears of global interest rate rises
This affected commodity stocks such as BHP Billiton, listed on the Australian market and will affect its UK-listed counterpart today while property companies and banks such as Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Westpac Banking Corp. also fell as regional rate increases could deter borrowing by homebuyers.
In contrast, however, the Japanese market did make significant gains where others fells as a result of the slight drop in the oil price, rising 228 points or 1.35% to 17.153.7 by the 3pm close of business in Tokyo.
The oil price in the US did drop yesterday and today – falling 3.1% to $72.28 a barrel yesterday in New York and then again today to $72.05, as concerns about production demand in the US might now be met this summer.
But stocks still closed down a fraction, as the Dow Jones fell 16 points or 0.14% to hold just above 11,400.
General Motors saw a significant drop of $3.10 or 0.72 to $22.49 alongside Microsoft which fell $3.50 or 0.84% to $23.17 and Exxon Mobile, also losing $1.39 or 0.9% to $63.77.IFAonline
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