Retail slump sees FTSE down 2%

The FTSE 100 Index slid more than 2% today as some miserable high street results did nothing to ease fears of a looming UK recession.

The FTSE 100 Index slid more than 2% today as some miserable high street results did nothing to ease fears of a looming UK recession.

Like-for-like sales at PC World were down 12% down, the chain's parent DSG International said, with pub group Punch Taverns adding to the gloom after scrapping a dividend payout.

Heavyweight miners were also on weaker ground as metal prices fell further, and the Footsie closed down 121 points - or 2.2% - to 5499.7 as US markets also showed early losses.

Ahead of tomorrow's Bank of England interest rate decision, just three stocks were in the black, including BAE Systems, which crept up 2.25p to 485.25p.

Pub groups were among the worst performers in both the first and second tiers, after FTSE 250 firm Punch Taverns said it would not pay a full-year dividend to shareholders. Punch slid more than 12%, or 38.5p to 278.25p.

Fellow FTSE 250 pub group JD Wetherspoon tumbled 10.25p to 263p and Mitchells & Butlers dropped 16.75p to 286.25p. The sector had been on the front foot yesterday after a well received trading update from brewer Greene King.

Punch's FTSE 100 Index counterpart Enterprise Inns meanwhile was second on the blue-chip fallers board, down 8% or 27p to 280.25p.

Other retailers and banks also declined on concerns that the Government's housing market pep-up measures would not be enough to lift the economic gloom. Oil prices remained below US$110, but failed to offer the cheer seen in recent days amid more pressing fears over the state of the UK economy.

Barclays shed 13.25p to 350.5p, while supermarket Sainsbury's was among the worst hit retailers, down 15p at 355p as the sector lost much of yesterday's stamp duty upside.

Next was also down, by 41p at 1092p and B&Q parent Kingfisher was off 5.1p at 135.6p.

DSG International spread more gloom after announcing more sales declines, also suggesting that profits were likely to fall further. Shares in the group fell by more than 5% initially, but later bounced back to stand 4.25p higher at 57p.

Miners inflicted most of the damage on the FTSE 100, led by falls at Ferrexpo, down 38.5p at 211.25p and Kazakhmys, which closed 72p worse off at 1112p.

Travel firms, too, gave back some of their recent gains, led by Thomas Cook down 8.75p at 237.75p. British Airways also slid 10.75p to 262.5p after revealing that falling oil prices were providing little relief as its fuel bill was instead inflated by a weaker pound. Shares in low-cost carrier easyJet also fell 12.75p to 366.5p.

Telecoms group Cable & Wireless surrendered early gains seen after it announced it had offloaded £1bn (€1.2bn) of pension liabilities under a deal with Prudential. Shares were later down 4.5p at 174.6p.

The Footsie's three risers were BAE Systems, up 2.25p to 485.25p, British Energy up 3p to 735p and 3I Group which added 1.5p to 923.5p.

The four biggest fallers were Ferrexpo, down 38.5p at 211.25p, Enterprise Inns down 27p at 280.25p, Kazakhmys down 72p down at 1112p and Rio Tinto which ended the day 225p worse off at 4605p.

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