FTSE in the red again

Fresh concerns over the fragility of America’s recovery weighed on stocks today as the FTSE 100 Index suffered a second session in the red.

There was little cheer despite JP Morgan’s second quarter results beating market expectations, with investors focusing on disappointing industrial and manufacturing data in the US.

The Footsie closed 42.2 points down at 5211.3, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was more than 80 points lower.

Asian stocks also finished lower overnight as investors looked to take profits after a decent run for world markets in recent days. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Nikkei in Japan both lost more than 1%.

Wobbles over the US economy helped the pound gain further strength against the US dollar. The US Federal Reserve issued a slightly weaker forecast for the world’s biggest economy, which sparked speculation of more credit easing, helping sterling gain 0.8% to 1.54 dollars.

JP Morgan kicked off the sector’s reporting season with profits of $4.8bn (€3.7bn) after an improvement in bad debt, but this failed to halt hefty slides for bank shares on this side of the Atlantic.

Barclays was the session’s worst performing blue chip, down 13.2p at 300.4p and Royal Bank of Scotland shed 1p to 45.2p.

A disappointing session for miners saw many players in the sector on the back foot, with Eurasian Natural Resources and Rio Tinto off 30.5p to 842.5p and 104p to 3030.5p respectively.

In corporate news, shares in Mothercare were 4% lower after it revealed a 4% decline in first quarter like-for-like sales in the UK.

While the decline was offset by another period of strong international growth, shares in the FTSE 250 Index company still dropped 22p to 530p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Essar Energy up 19.1p to 448.1p, Experian ahead 15.5p at 649p, Severn Trent up 24p at 1293p and GlaxoSmithKline up 21.5p at 1203p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Barclays down 13.2p at 300.4p, Aviva off 12.5p at 343.4p, Eurasian Natural Resources off 30.5p at 842.5p and Intercontinental Hotels down 40p at 1120p.

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