London shares lose further ground

London shares lost further ground in early trading today as investors struggled to find reasons to buy in the wake of recent gloomy news.

London shares lost further ground in early trading today as investors struggled to find reasons to buy in the wake of recent gloomy news.

The FTSE 100 index fell 5.6 points to 4234.6 in the first hour as the fallout from the Bank of England interest rates cliffhanger earlier in the week continued to dominate trading.

Prospects for a bright start in the United States later today were also scarce, with Microsoft earnings failing to inspire Wall Street after hours and analysts calling the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 100 points.

Network Rail’s announcement that it is taking all track maintenance work in-house dominated the news agenda in London.

Shares in engineering firm Jarvis, which has already announced its decision to withdraw from rail maintenance, fell further on the news, down 6.5p to 234p.

The stocks of other firms involved in track repairs also hit the buffers, with Amec dipping 1.25p to 257p, Carillion off nearly 11%, or 18.5p, at 153.5p and shares in the Peterhouse Group, which owns First Engineering, dropping nearly 23%, or 39.5p to 135p.

Lloyds TSB moved near to the top of the Footsie risers board, up 6p at 416.5p, after announcing the sale of the National Bank of New Zealand.

Shares in Blacks Leisure also climbed 0.5p to 348p after the outdoorwear group reported a 24% rise in operating profits.

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