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London markets lower again

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by Elaine Frei

London’s equities markets came back from Monday’s holiday to major losses. The FTSE 100 declined by 2.4 percent to 5,652.0 while the FTSE 250 lost 2.9 percent to 9,235.5.

Shares in companies that depend on the US dollar for a large part of their earnings were especially vulnerable as the greenback continued to weaken. Among those losers were asset manager Amvescap, which declined by 4.2 percent to 408p; plumbers Wolseley, down 5 percent to £12.02; and building materials group Hanson, which lost 5.6 percent to 642p.

The insurance sector also saw losses. Prudential was down 4.3 percent to 576½p, while Old Mutual declined by 4.9 percent to 163½p.

Miners were down on the day even though metals prices were relatively stable. Copper miner Kazakhmys had the worst of it, dropping 4.6 percent to £10.85.

Gainers on the day included airport operators BAA, which added 6.4 percent to 873p after it said it had rejected a 900p per share offer from Spanish construction company Grupo Ferrovial. Amid mid-cap gainers was EMI Group, which was up 1.3 percent to 273¼p on rumors that US music group Warner Music might bid for the UK music company. In addition, Morgan Stanley upgraded EMI from “underweight” to “equalweight”.

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News posted: May 30, 2006

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