Footsie suffers slight losses

The London market finished just below its opening mark today following a mixed session for leading shares as fears of an imminent interest rate rise across the Atlantic loomed again.

The London market finished just below its opening mark today following a mixed session for leading shares as fears of an imminent interest rate rise across the Atlantic loomed again.

New York was trading in the red, dragging the FTSE 100 Index down to close 3.3 points lower at 5820.1, despite an earlier rally from travel stocks as the sector looked to recover after Thursday’s terror alert.

British Airways shares lifted 2% earlier as the airline and travel sector showed signs of a fightback following the terror alert.

With one analyst putting the cost of the disruption at less than £50 million, BA recovered some of the 5% loss seen yesterday. But the cheer was short-lived and BA finished 0.25p down at 370p.

However, hotels group InterContinental finished higher with a rise of 6p to 845p, while car hire company Avis Europe rose 1.5p to 65p in the FTSE 250 Index. The firm took a dive yesterday as it does a lot of its business at airports.

No frills airline easyJet made gains of almost 1% – up 3p to 417p. Tour operator MyTravel initially lifted 0.7%, but ended 3.25p down at 205.25p.

Back in the top flight, Party Poker owner PartyGaming fell after it emerged BetonSports had decided to close its US operation in the wake of legal action by US authorities. The move added to nerves in the sector, with PartyGaming off 2p at 109p. Smaller rival 888 Holdings was also down – 1.25p at 150.25p.

Vodafone continued to struggle after the owner of T-Mobile issued a profits warning and said it would now cut its prices. Shares were 2p lower at 110p.

On a positive note, supermarket Tesco shot to the top of the risers board with a lift of 2% as it was reported that the supermarket group was planning to launch a homewares catalogue in competition with Argos. While Tesco cheered 8.25p to 373.25p, Argos owner GUS fell 16p to 957.5p.

And fund manager Schroders fell 91p to 872p, as first-half results came in lower than expected.

In the FTSE 250 Index, kitchen equipment group Enodis rallied 4p to 169p after US company Middleby said it remained interested in a bid for the UK company, which earlier this week pulled out of a deal with Manitowoc.

But H Samuel and Ernest Jones owner Signet struggled amid speculation private equity bidders for the firm could get a rocky ride from shareholders. The stock fell 1.5p to 113.5p after reports indicated investors doubt whether a private equity bidder could extract anymore operational efficiencies from Signet than management already does.

The day’s biggest blue chip risers were Tesco up 8.25p to 373.25p, Drax up 20p to 944.5p, Shire up 17.5p to 873.5p and ITV up 1.75p to 104.5p.

The day’s biggest blue chip fallers were Schroders down 91p to 872p, PartyGaming off 2p to 109p, Vodafone down 2p to 110p and GUS off 16p to 957.5p.

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