FTSE pulls back from 14-month high

The FTSE 100 Index pulled back from 14-month highs today as investors took the chance to take some money off the table.

The FTSE 100 Index pulled back from 14-month highs today as investors took the chance to take some money off the table.

The London market followed Monday’s 1.6% gain with a slide of 36.7 points to 5345.9 at the close amid little major news to set pulses racing.

A slightly higher than expected rise in inflation to 1.5% in October failed to move the market significantly despite some concerns that the Bank of England could begin to row back stimulus measures more quickly than previously thought.

And there was little encouragement from across the Atlantic as sluggish industrial production figures saw Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average give up some ground in early trading.

A minor rebound for the US dollar depressed mining stocks after yesterday’s stellar gains as investors poured money into commodities.

The heavyweight sector lost some of its sparkle today however with Lonmin down 57p at 1683p or 3%. Rio Tinto was off 72.5p at 3232.5p after a downgrade from Investec brokers.

But telecoms company Cable & Wireless was among the biggest risers as it said previously announced plans to split itself into two should be completed by next March.

With C&W also announcing its intention to raise £200m (€126m) through a convertible bond issue, shares rose 2.4p to 140.7p, a gain of almost 2%.

Energy firms were also higher as investors switched back into safer blue-chip stocks. Scottish & Southern Energy lifted 22p to 1117p, Centrica added 4.6p to 252.2p and water firm Severn Trent rose 10p to 1005p.

Inter-dealer broker ICAP was the Footsie’s leading riser, up 13.7p to 438.5p despite a 5% fall in first half profits as the company eyed improving markets.

In the FTSE 250 Index, transport firm Arriva was the top riser – up 28.1p to 486.6p – as broker Goldman Sachs raised its rating for the stock from sell to buy.

But Enterprise Inns fell 8%, off 11.2p to 122.4p, as it reported a 21% fall in annual profits and said it expected further pressure on trading profits in this financial year as a result of additional pub disposals.

EasyJet also slipped 4% after it posted underlying pre-tax profits of £43.7m (€49.4m) for the year to September 30, compared with £123.1m (€139.1m) in 2008. Shares were down 14.2p at 378p, despite upbeat comments on next year.

Engineering company Bodycote was another FTSE 250 stock under pressure after it said sales were no better between July and the end of October. Shares fell 5% or 10.5p to 187.9p.

Elsewhere the UK’s biggest coal mining firm UK Coal fell 7% or 6p to 76.75p after it said a recent fatal accident and tough mining conditions would dent production output for the year.

The biggest Footsie risers were ICAP up 13.7p to 438p, Scottish & Southern up 22p to 1117p, Centrica up 4.6p at 252.2p and 3i up 5p at 289.2p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Man Group down 15.5p at 355.7p, Lonmin off 57p to 1683p, British Airways down 6.8p at 208.5p and Barclays, which finished 9p lower at 315p.

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