FTSE in the red

Internet gambling firm PartyGaming led the London market deeper into the red today as US inflationary concerns continued to spook traders.

Internet gambling firm PartyGaming led the London market deeper into the red today as US inflationary concerns continued to spook traders.

Shares in the Party Poker owner plummeted 11% after the arrest of Sportingbet chairman Peter Dicks in the US fuelled concerns over the online gambling industry.

And as investors pondered fresh Federal Reserve data, which point to a slowing in the US economy, the FTSE 100 Index was left nursing a 52.3 point drop to stand at 5877 by mid-morning.

PartyGaming topped the fallers board – down 12.75p at 104.5p – with small-cap rival 888 also on the slide. Its shares slipped 26p to stand at 145p.

Shares in directories business Yell jumped by as much as 9% today after the Competition Commission proposed a relaxation of price controls.

The surprise decision to allow Yell to raise its prices in line with inflation pushed shares to a new high, up 45p to 578p in the first hour of business.

Stocks with exposure to possible higher US interest rates were under pressure, including Build Center chain Wolseley with a drop of 29p to 1121p.

BAE Systems dived almost 2% after it said last night that it had agreed to back the £1.9bn (€2.8bn) sale of its 20% stake in Airbus, even though the figure was far lower than previous expectations. BAE fell 4.75p to 372.74p.

ITV shares were lower as a report said the former BAA chief executive Mike Clasper had been sounded out for the position of chief executive. The stock slipped 2.25p to 103.25p.

Among companies reporting results today, transport group Arriva rose 3p to 615p, reflecting a “solid” half-year performance in the face of rising fuel costs.

But no frills airline easyJet was in the doldrums after revealing it suffered £4m (€5.9m) revenue hit following last month’s terror scare. Its shares fell 18.75p to 448.25p.

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