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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
December 18, 2006

London equities trade slows ahead of Christmas


by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets were mixed on Monday on slow trade in the run-up to Christmas. The FTSE 100 dropped 0.2 percent to 6,257.4, while the FTSE 250 was up a bare 1.7 points to 11,087.7, with less than 2.5 billion shares trading hands.

In the leisure sector, cruise ship operator Carnival added 2.2 percent to £25.04 as oil prices declined. Also helping was a repeated “buy” rating from Deutsche Bank.

Retailer Next benefited from an increased target share price and positive comments from Merrill Lynch. The clothing retailer was 1.3 percent higher to £18.14.

Smith & Nephew added 8.1 percent to 521¾p for the biggest gain on the 100 on the session. Merrill Lynch upgraded the orthopedics company to “buy” and put its target share price at 580p on the theory that it is a target for takeover after it lost its bid to purchase US company Biomet.

Oilfield services company Petrofac saw the largest gain on the 250, gaining 4.8 percent to 395¾p, a new record, after it said its profits for the year will hit the top of the range of expectations.

Losers incuded Cairn Energy, which dropped another 2.8 percent to £18.61 after its Indian IPO was less than successful, with shares riding in the bottom end of the range.

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