Footsie remains above opening mark

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index remained above its opening mark today having clawed back almost all of yesterday’s losses.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index remained above its opening mark today having clawed back almost all of yesterday’s losses.

London’s leading shares overcame a downbeat session in the US, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 43 points lower, to stand 15.9 points higher at 4072.5 by mid-morning.

However, trading was light on a slow news day as the Footsie continued to tread water ahead of a raft of corporate results due in the next month.

Among the few blue-chip stocks attracting investor attention was telecoms firm Cable & Wireless which dipped 2.75p to 116.25p after seeing its debt rating cut by credit agency Moody’s.

Meanwhile engineering group Smiths was also down which traders said was due to one broker selling the stock aggressively. Shares lost 27.5p to 718p.

Topping the Footsie risers was pubs group Mitchells & Butlers, which span out of leisure group Six Continents earlier this year. The stock continued its recovery from recent weakness, rising 7p to 227p.

Financial firms were among those making marginal progress, with Prudential up 2p at 424.25p, Abbey National ahead 6.25p at 486.25p and HSBC 6.5p stronger at 763p.

Those losing out included Royal Bank of Scotland down 8p at 1724p and Barclays which slipped 0.75p to 450.75p.

Outside the Footsie, retailer Mothercare reaped the benefit of a positive trading update as shares rose 2% or 3p to 165p. That was after the company said its recovery was on track with like-for-like sales growth of 3.4%.

Outdoor clothing group Blacks Leisure staged a similar rally, gaining 7.5p to 314p on the back of a same-store sales rise of 4.2%.

Other risers included photo booth specialist Photo-Me International, rising 12% or 8.75p to 83.75p, after announcing plans to increase production of its digital minilabs.

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