The FTSE 100 index dropped 9.10 points to close at 4,309.40 today, again testing resilience after dipping below the 4,300 level in the hour before trading ceased.
The selling of shares came despite US government figures showing new housing sales in February were at their third highest ever monthly level, and that orders for so-called durable goods, such as cars, aircraft and computers increased following a drop in January.
UK investors may have taken fright from statements by chancellor Gordon Brown that personal debt levels are not too high, in contrast to other recent statements from Bank of England policymakers saying they felt debt levels may require cooling through higher interest rates.
However, more likely is that fears of terrorism after the closure of a rail link between Paris and Brussels over a bomb scare and technical issues such as shares going ex-dividend hurt the market more.
Bradford & Bingley dropped 14.5p to 294p on shares going ex-dividend.
Aviva shed 16.5p to 511p, and Schroders fell 17p to 583p for the same reason.
Next gained 25p to 1,360p ahead of results due out tomorrow morning.
Johnson Matthey added 12.5p to 880.5p on an analyst upgrade from CSFB.
Legal & General gained 1.25p to 94.5p after an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from Lehman Bros.
Shell gained 3.25p to 355.25p after news it is likely to win an exploration deal from Libya in the wake of tomorrow’s planned meeting between that country’s leader Muammar Quaddafi and Tony Blair.
Shares in the US are up.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained about 21 points to 10,084, while the broader S&P 500 index is up about 2 points to 1,095.IFAonline
Despite improved risk appetite
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