FTSE back in red

The FTSE 100 Index was back in negative territory today as investor caution weighed on bank and mining stocks once more.

The FTSE 100 Index was back in negative territory today as investor caution weighed on bank and mining stocks once more.

London’s Footsie followed the lead of Asian markets overnight with a 36.7 point fall to 4649.1 in mid-morning trading.

The pound also slumped as minutes of the Bank of England’s interest rate meeting earlier this month revealed that Governor Mervyn King had wanted to expand its quantitative easing programme by even more than £50bn (€58bn).

A number of stocks turning ex-dividend, meaning new investors will not be able to take part in the upcoming dividend payment, also put pressure on the top tier.

Scottish & Southern Energy was one of those now ex-dividend, which saw it lead the declines with a 5% drop, down 55p to 1079p.

Banks also littered the fallers board, with HSBC down 20.5 points at 635.5p, Standard Chartered off 35p at 1355p and Barclays 8.05p lower at 338.5p.

Miners gave back some of the big gains seen yesterday, with Antofagasta off 17.5p at 700.5p.

British Land suffered its second big fall of the week – down 15.6p to 467.4p - as investors took profits in the wake of fading takeover speculation and after the property company published first quarter results.

There was some interest in the gaming sector after Sony slashed the price of its PlayStation 3 games console in an attempt to drive up sales.

Broker Singer said the move should be positive for UK video games retailers such as HMV and Game Group by boosting turnover in the run up to Christmas.

Game shares rose 1%, or 1.7p to 157.8p, although HMV fell back after opening higher, later standing 0.8p lower at 119.9p.

Elsewhere, car dealership Lookers fell 3% after interim results signalled ongoing caution over the new car market, despite encouraging signs.

Shares fell 2p to 67p, despite a 14% rise in underlying pre-tax profits coming in well ahead of market expectations.

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