Footsie continues to slide

Investors continued to cram the exit doors today with £31 billion wiped off the value of the FTSE 100 Index.

Investors continued to cram the exit doors today with £31 billion wiped off the value of the FTSE 100 Index.

With metal prices continuing to slip, mining stocks were again worst hit as the top flight index lost sight of the 5600 mark.

In a turbulent session which saw the blue chip index reverberate below its opening mark, the Footsie ended the day 124.7 points lower at 5532.7 – 550 points down since May 10.

Losses were also felt outside the premier league with the FTSE 250 Index suffering its biggest ever points fall in a single day – down 364 points at 8826.8. Aquarius Platinum led the FTSE 250 fallers with a 14% drop or 109p to close at 645.5p.

Mining stocks were again near the top of the FTSE 100 fallers board amid ongoing fears about metal prices and the recent weakness in the strength of the US dollar.

The worst hit was Xstrata, which fell 9% or 168p to 1764p, Kazakhmys fell 88.5p to 958p and Antofagasta dipped 150p to 1889p.

Steel group Corus was also affected in the sell-off, leading the FTSE 100 fallers board with drop of more than 9% or 35.25p to close at 344.5p.

Market watchers said that the company was feeling the pressure from fears over global investment and higher interest rates which have been at the heart of the current market rout.

Among the few bright spots for investors was a gain for banking group Alliance & Leicester after it emerged that French bank Credit Agricole had the company in its sights, along with others in the sector.

But even there, early gains were wiped out with an initial 13% jump in the value of A&L shares, the stock closed 3% higher, a rise of 28p to 1143p.

Gains for other financial stocks off the back of the Alliance & Leicester boost also drained away as the session progressed with Halifax owner HBOS down 2.5p at 895p, Royal Bank of Scotland 9p weaker at 1684p and HSBC 29p lower at 914p.

Brewer SABMiller continued to fall, extending losses seen last week amid fears the high price of aluminium would affect its profits performance. Shares were 33p lower at 994p, after starting last week at 1095p.

Despite forecasts of strong full-year results from the company tomorrow, Marks & Spencer shares lost their early bounce to end the day in negative territory, down 8p at 567p.

Among the risers telecoms group BT continued its strong performance following better-than-expected full-year figures last week. Shares were 1p higher to close at 224.5p

However, British Airways failed to hold on to gains achieved after its own strong results on Friday. The airline was almost 6% lower, a drop of 20.25p to 329p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Alliance & Leicester up 28p at 1143p, Cadbury Schweppes 9p higher at 514p, Scottish & Newcastle up 7p at 484.5p and Gallaher Group up 4p at 841.5p.

The biggest fallers were Corus off 35.25p at 344.5p, Xstrata 168p lower at 1764p, Kazakhmys off 88.5p at 958p and Antofagasta off 150p at 1889p.

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