No bloodbath on FTSE

The London market avoided another bloodbath today after the FTSE 100 Index completed the first hour of trading less than 40 points lower.

The London market avoided another bloodbath today after the FTSE 100 Index completed the first hour of trading less than 40 points lower.

The drop of 0.8% – or 36.9 to 4781.9 – was much better than initial City forecasts for a slide of 200 points or more. However, the market remained on edge after last night’s shock rejection of the $700bn (€487bn) bank bail-out.

The market’s resilience came despite another difficult session for banks, with Halifax Bank of Scotland off 11% or 15.5p to 126.5p and merger partner Lloyds TSB down 10.75p to 206.5p.

Royal Bank of Scotland was 8.7p lower at 172.3p, a drop of 5% after it told investors that the acquisition of ABN Amro assets would not be affected by the forced sale of a stake by bid partner Fortis.

The major corporate news came from Tesco, which rose 4% or 15.5p to 385.4p after it reported a 10% rise in half-year profits and said it was making inroads in the battle against discount rivals.

Pubs chain Enterprise Inns rose 20.25p to 177.5p – up 12% – after it described trading as robust and said it remained on track to meet profit expectations.

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