London’s leading shares looked set for a gloomy end to the week today after surrendering early gains.
Despite putting on nearly 30 points in the opening minutes of trading, drawing comfort from a late recovery on Wall Street last night, London’s rally ran out of steam as the FTSE 100 Index slipped back below the key 4200 support level.
And with traders expecting only a minor pick-up at best when Wall Street opens later in the session, London’s benchmark index was exactly 20 points below its opening mark at 4178 by lunchtime.
As Wall Street traders prepare for a holiday weekend in the United States, volumes in London looansco was being closely watched following the power cuts which brought London to a standstill last night.
However, there was little impact on the stock, which fell 4.75p to 389.25p, United Utilities putting on 2.75p at 107.75p.
In a session of few major moves, pest control-to-tropical plants group Rentokil Initial, which reported half year results yesterday, put on almost 4% or 7.5p to top the Footsie risers list at 212p.
On the downside Royal & Sun Alliance led the fallers board with a decline of 5.25p to 139p. And Intercontinental Hotels, which lost ground yesterday after gloomy results from rival Hilton, was also down 16p at 484.25p.
Meanwhile supermarket group Sainsbury’s was having a bad day, down 7p at 275p after rival Tesco – up 3.75p at 216.75p – announced £60 million of price cuts.
Outside the Footsie, a number of media stocks benefited from a rush of buying interest with radio group GWR up 21p at 233.5p, Capital Radio ahead 27.5p at 557.5p and Chrysalis 5.5p stronger at 205.5p.
Those heading in the opposite direction included electronics group Psion, which fell 3.75p to 78.25p despite announcing narrower half-year losses of £11 million.
Investors appeared more concerned with the company’s plan to increase its stake in mobile phone software firm Symbian from 25% to 31%.
And a profits warning from CCTV group Photo-Scan sent shares down 12% or 13p to reach 96p.
The group warned today that a previously-flagged short-term reduction in turnover, while it negotiates new contracts, will now last longer than originally expected.
Tech company Morse rose 1%, up 1.5p to 145p, despite announcing full-year losses of £14.1 million.