Investors receive post-Easter jolt

Profit warnings from two of the world's largest companies are rocking shares on the London Stock Exchange.

Profit warnings from two of the world's largest companies are rocking shares on the London Stock Exchange.

The Footsie index of 100 leading stocks has been sent reeling, falling 93.9 points by lunchtime to stand at 5672.7 as the market reacts to downbeat news from US networking equipment company Cisco Systems and the Dutch consumer electronics group Philips.

Among the telecoms sufferers in London are Vodafone, dropping 12½p to 203½p; BT, down 43p to 533p; Colt Telecom, 72p lighter at 648p; and Cable & Wireless, 25½p off at 489½p.

Telecom equipment group Marconi is down 26p to 308½p; Energis has fallen 35p to 266p; and Spirent has slipped 8¼p to 340p. Software groups Sage and Misys are also lower, off 18p at 224¾p and 36½p at 433½p respectively.

Investors in computer services group Dimension Data are also fretting after seeing the stock plunge by 9% or 27¼p to 261p. Meanwhile, Logica has tumbled by 75p to 807p; CMG has fallen 25½p to 410p; and chip designer Arm Holdings is down 18p at 309p.

Footsie 250 stocks which are suffering include handheld computer group Psion, off 11¾p at 94½p; and Bookham Technology, down 10½p at 304½p.

Oil stocks have showed little impact from the explosion at the Conoco oil refinery in Lincolnshire yesterday. BP Amoco is up 5p at 605½p; while Shell has moved ahead 1p to 571p.

Others on the increase include Marks & Spencer, up 7½p to 266½p; Tesco, up 6¼p at 256¾p; Morrison Supermarkets, ahead 3p at 205p; and Kingfisher, 1¾p higher at 455p.

United Utilities is up 12p at 622p; Scottish & Southern Energy has risen by 5p to 613p; and Centrica is 4p ahead at 237¾p.

Engineering group GKN is also looking in good shape, up 15½p at 752p, amid speculation a merger of its industrial services division with Brambles of Australia could be announced on Thursday.

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