Small loss for FTSE

Ingredients and sugar group Tate & Lyle led a downbeat close to the week for the London market after a disappointing trading update saw the stock hit a three-year low.

Ingredients and sugar group Tate & Lyle led a downbeat close to the week for the London market after a disappointing trading update saw the stock hit a three-year low.

Shares in the Silver Spoon and Splenda sweetener firm tumbled almost 28%, or 155p to 402.5p, after it warned its sugar division would post a loss in the first half, while high corn prices and a weak US dollar would also impact earnings.

The FTSE 100 Index closed down 19.6 points at 6466.8, as financial and mining stocks weighed on blue chip stocks, while a negative opening in the US did nothing to cheer investors.

Sentiment was impacted by the latest GfK NOP survey, which showed consumer confidence slipped to its lowest level since December 2005 during September as a result of the crisis at mortgage lender Northern Rock.

The troubled bank was also one of the session's top fallers with a loss of more than 7%, or 14.3p to 179.2p, after reports suggested the group borrowed an additional £5bn (€7.1bn) from the Bank of England, reviving credit concerns.

Other banks were lower with HSBC off 8.5p at 904.5p and Barclays down 8p to 595.5p.

Recent FTSE 100 entrant, Irish firm Tullow Oil, made strong advances - up 11p at 596p after the group reportedly said it may bid for exploration blocks in India.

Miners were on the back foot, with Antofagasta down 28p at 762.5p, Vedanta Resources falling 27p to 2030p and Kazakhmys off 50p at 1405p after broker downgrades from UBS.

However Lonmin swung in the opposite direction to top the risers' board with a gain of 7%, or 251p to 3649p, after the price of gold continued to rally, while Xstrata was 61p higher at 3244p.

Rio Tinto climbed 71p to 4228p after shareholders gave their backing to its £15.6bn (€22.36bn) proposed takeover of Canadian aluminium group Alcan.

Medical devices maker Smith & Nephew lifted nearly 3%, or 15p to 597.5p, after it - along with four other firms - entered into agreements with the US Department of Justice to settle a long-running investigation into the industry.

Elsewhere in the top flight, Enterprise Inns fell 7p to 592p as it said its plans to raise £750m (€1bn) through a refinancing had been put back to next year.

The company blamed uncertain credit markets, but added that trading in its financial year had been in line with expectations.

In the second tier, sports retailer JJB Sports saw a 6% rise, up 8.5p to 154p as it unveiled plans to halt the decline in earnings following a 58% drop in interim pre-tax profits. Sports World owner Sports Direct also benefited, with shares up 5p at 129p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Lonmin up 251p at 3649p, Yell Group ahead 11.25p at 429p, Smith & Nephew up 15p at 597.5p and Royal & Sun Alliance ahead 3.7p at 154.5p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Tate & Lyle off 155p at 402.5p, Northern Rock down 14.3p at 179.2p, Antofagasta off 28p at 762.5p and Kazakhmys down 50p at 1405p.

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