FTSE resumes upward path

The London market resumed its upward path today despite a blow for firms in the DIY sector.

The London market resumed its upward path today despite a blow for firms in the DIY sector.

B&Q owner Kingfisher lost almost 4% of its value after builders’ merchant Travis Perkins issued a profits warning after seeing a sharp deterioration in market conditions.

However, an upbeat showing by New York shares last night helped put the FTSE 100 Index on course for a positive end to the week, 31.4 points ahead at 5454.9 by mid-morning.

Shire Pharmaceuticals was among those lifting the mood as it continued its recent rally to lift 19.5p to 722.5p.

A series of financial stocks were also in the black, including Royal Bank of Scotland, up 29p to 1663p, while Barclays rose 9.5p to 595.5p and Lloyds TSB cheered 7.75p to 471p.

But the DIY sector was feeling the heat from Travis Perkins’ warning that trading had worsened since mid-October. This affected a number of blue-chip firms, with Kingfisher slipping 8p to 210.5p and brickmaker Hanson off 4p to 592p.

Second tier stock Travis lost more than 9% of its value, falling 134p to 1279p, while furniture group MFI lost 7% or 6p to 77.25p.

Model railways group Hornby fell 10%, down 22.5p to 201p, as it sounded a cautious note about Christmas trading and posted profits below City hopes.

Profits of £2.5m (€3.71m) for the six months to September 30 compared with one broker’s forecast of £2.8m (€4.2m).

In contrast, telecoms group Kingston Communications extended yesterday’s significant gains, triggered by news of a takeover approach. Shares lifted 15% or 9.5p to 74p today amid speculation its mystery suitor was an American buyout firm. The stock rose 15% yesterday.

Blue-chip recruitment firm Whitehead Mann lost half a penny to 33p despite saying a major restructuring drive helped it narrow losses. The reduced size of the business cut turnover to £20.3m (€30m) from £26.9m (€40m) in the first half of its financial year.

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