Footsie makes positive start

Relief over the impact of EU sugar reforms and a recovery for property stocks kept the FTSE 100 Index on an even keel today.

Relief over the impact of EU sugar reforms and a recovery for property stocks kept the FTSE 100 Index on an even keel today.

The Footsie stood 12 points higher at 5523 by mid-morning – further helped by signs in official GDP figures that consumer spending could be on the way back.

Disappointment at third quarter figures from retailer Tesco provided the main drag on the Footsie, although BAT was off by more than 3% as traders fretted about the trading performance at the tobacco group.

BAT was down 44p at 1266p, while Tesco slipped 1% or 2.25p to 236p after its latest update came in slightly below market expectations. While it was the company’s worst quarterly sales growth for two years Tesco pointed out it was up against strong comparatives with a year earlier and a slowing market.

The session’s biggest rise came from sugar company Tate & Lyle after analysts said the EU sugar reform announced yesterday offered a better-than-expected result for the company’s future profits. Shares hit a seven-year high with a rise of 33.75p to 560.5p.

British Sugar owner Associated British Foods also benefited, lifting 4p to 842p.

Among other developments, property companies put back some of the losses seen in the wake of yesterday’s disappointing results from British Land.

The company gained 7.5p to 1000p while Hammerson added 13p to 984.5p and Land Securities cheered 16p to 1573p.

Outside the top flight, media and advertising group Aegis slipped 4.5p to 116.5p as investors expressed disappointment at larger rival WPP’s decision to pull out of making a joint bid with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

Elsewhere, Shed Productions surged almost 10% as the maker of Footballers’ Wives said it was paying at least £25 million for Ricochet, the company which makes Supernanny and Risking It All. Shares were 10.5p higher at 117.5p.

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