Shares are struggling to stay afloat in early UK trading this morning thanks to news from the US of an economic slowdown.
A US government report yesterday said economic growth has been at its slowest for two years and businesses have cut spending, which in turn damages the profit potential of some of the UK’s largest companies.
The FTSE 100 index is currently at 4789, as two stocks are falling for every one which rises, and the FTSE All-Share index is down 0.1% to 2391.42.
Building supplier Hanson is facing asbestos liabilities and has had to set aside almost $500m to cover it, so its share price is down 4.5p or 3% to 465p.
Emap, the publisher, is also down 15.5p or 2% to 773.5p while Amvescap, the money manager, fell 4p or 1.3% to 296p.
Despite all the pressure, Vodafone is performing well and helping to keep the FTSE 100 afloat as shares are up 0.4% to 136p after buying back 17 million shares this morning at 135.8p.
Shares in Marconi – previously a FTSE 100 listing – are again down this morning by 3.7% to 286p, having yesterday lost over a third of their value.
While BHP Billiton has been performing well in the UK – shares are so far up 5.5p or 0.88% to 629.5p – its Australian listing suffered today on the back of that US report, as did other Asian stocks.
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and mining giant BHP Billiton’s Australian listing both lost strong positions, as their equivalent indices fell 0.7%.
Samsung Electronics dropped 1.7% to 452,000 won and its closest electronics rival, LG Electronics Inc, which is also a major exporter, also closed down 0.8% to 66,500 won while BHP Billiton lost 0.6% to A$16.04 and its rival Rio Tinto Group fell 1.5% to A$41.46, compared with UK shares which are now up 13p or 0.83% to £15.70.
The only market spared was Japan, as it was closed for a holiday.
And in the US yesterday, all the main indices lost value because of the US economics data.
The Dow Jones index lost 128 points or 1.26% to 10,070 while the Nasdaq Composite index dropped 26 points or 1.36% to 1,904 and the S&P 500 index fell 13 points or 1.14% to 1,143.IFAonline
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