Footsie reluctant to hit 4200 barrier

Blue-chip shares continued to drift today as the FTSE 100 Index again appeared reluctant to break through the 4200 barrier.

Blue-chip shares continued to drift today as the FTSE 100 Index again appeared reluctant to break through the 4200 barrier.

With little in the way of corporate news, the Footsie stood just 7.9 points higher at 4188.6 in the first hour.

Investors in London also received minimal assistance from New York markets as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed slightly lower.

Ferries company P&O provided one of the few significant announcements today, although its figures showing a downturn in cross-Channel passenger numbers came as little surprise to the market, as shares eased just a penny to 246.5p.

Elsewhere, Marks & Spencer’s decision to cease discussions on the sale of its Kings supermarkets chain in US also failed to stir investors, with M&S shares unchanged at 313p.

Outside the top flight, estate agency giant Countrywide Assured surged 10% - up 12p to 133.5p – after forecasting a better end to its financial year because of improved confidence in the housing market following the Iraq war.

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