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Tuesday 13th of November 2007

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London markets down on retail, insurers


by Elaine Frei
March 23, 2006

London equities markets were lower on Thursday as the FTSE 100 slipped back below the 6,000 level, closing down 0.3 percent to 5,990.1. The FTSE 250 dropped 0.1 percent to 9,865.6. Volume amounted to 3.8 billion shares traded.

Miners were up on the day. Anglo American gained 3.1 percent to £20.78 after it announced that it will double its previously announced share buy-back. This news helped the rest of the sector, and BHP Billiton was up 2.3 percent to 991p.

The retail sector was generally down. Clothing retailer Next dropped 3.7 percent to £16.62 on the news that like-for-like sales dropped by 8.9 percent during the first seven weeks of its fiscal year. Woolworths was down by 0.7 percent to 36¾p on a downgrade from “hold” to “sell” from Deutsche Bank.

Insurer Prudential dropped 0.7 percent to 715½p on concerns that a predicted bidding war for the company would not take place. Rival Aviva, however, gained 0.3 percent to 822p after rumors persisted that it was ready to up its bid for Prudential, made last week.

Supermarket operator Wm Morrison dropped 6 percent to 197½p after it announced a cost-cutting plan after posting the first annual loss in the history of the company. Analysts were not impressed by the plan as outlined.

British Airways ended the session flat at 360¾p on uncertainties over whether unions would approve the airline’s scheme to lower its current large pension deficit.



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