Shares head south as dealers wait for rates decision

The FTSE-100 Index is off 44.2 points in light trading as dealers await this week's decision on interest rates.

The FTSE-100 Index is off 44.2 points in light trading as dealers await this week's decision on interest rates.

The Footsie is at 5589.5 as traders look to the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to cut the base rate to 5.5%, the level seem by many as necessary to prevent the economic slowdown in the US and Japan damaging the UK.

Railtrack has suffered the biggest fall, sliding by more than 9%, or 63½p to 623½p. Athough it's getting £1.5bn of Government funding earlier than expected it won't be building phase two of the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link.

The weakness in tech stocks continues with CMG and Logica both down, CMG off 28½p at 571p, while Logica has dropped 28p at 962p. Misys is also off, falling 16½p to 487½p, as is Sage, which has drifted a further 9p to 238p.

Imperial Tobacco is ahead 15p to 693p after announcing a £179m deal for Tobaccor, a French-based group with a substantial market in Africa and Asia.

Stagecoach is also up, ahead 4%, or 2p to 59p after being awarded the South West Trains franchise by the Strategic Rail Authority.

Outside the Footsie, Manchester United are up 8%, or 14p to 186p after reporting a 30% jump in pre-tax profits for the first half of its financial year. has also lifted 2% as speculation grew that its Loot free-ad newspaper business could soon be up for sale. The online directory service has confirmed it is reviewing all aspects of its business, including Loot. Shares are up ¼p at 11½p.

And Innogy Holdings has risen 6p at 196p following an announcing that it planns to float its energy storage business Regenesys.

Moss Bros has plunged by 12%, or 4p to 28½p, after full-year figures showed it had made a pre-tax loss of £17.5m.

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