FTSE losses continue

The FTSE 100 Index suffered its fifth losing session in a row today as high borrowing costs for Italy and Spain fuelled fears of a eurozone meltdown.

FTSE losses continue

The FTSE 100 Index suffered its fifth losing session in a row today as high borrowing costs for Italy and Spain fuelled fears of a eurozone meltdown.

The debt-ridden nations' benchmark 10-year bonds were nearly 7% which, although slightly lower than yesterday, is still seen as unsustainable.

Continuing eurozone jitters dragged the FTSE 100 Index down 60.2 points at 5362.9. That means it has lost 176 points the week, costing it 3% or £45bn (€52.5bn) of its value.

The pound was down against the euro at 1.17 after the single currency was boosted by the slight easing in Spain and Italy's borrowing costs. Sterling was up against the dollar at 1.58.

Spain's borrowing costs have escalated ahead of a general election this weekend, while Italy's new head Mario Monti faces a tough job beating the country's finances back into shape.

When Portugal and Ireland's borrowing costs hit 7% they were forced to ask for a bail-out, but Spain and Italy are seen as being too big to rescue and could sink the eurozone.

Commodity-focused stocks again bore the brunt of the sell-off, with silver miner Fresnillo off 48p at 1711p and Glencore 14.2p lower at 398.7p.

And Lloyds Banking Group fell to a fresh 32-month low. The eurozone crisis and fears that Northern Rock's £747m (€872.4m) sale price indicated a poor return for the 632 branches it must sell in order to meet EU competition rules meant shares were down another 0.5p to 25.2p.

Elsewhere in the sector, Barclays was down 1.7p at 166.4p and HSBC slipped 3.6p to 480.9p.

The fallers board was led by outsourcing firm Capita after it said underlying revenues were running 7% lower than a year earlier, despite the prospect of a record year for major contract wins and renewals. Shares dipped 27.5p to 640p.

Defence products firm Chemring was the biggest faller in the FTSE 250 Index, dropping 13% or 62.4p to 421.6p after it said orders being delayed to the current financial year would hit full-year profits.

Meanwhile, two stocks on the receiving end of sharp sell-offs in recent sessions made much-needed progress in the FTSE 250 Index.

Debt-laden Premier Foods, which makes Hovis and Mr Kipling products, rose 0.7p to 5.2p, while Mothercare pulled back from yesterday's heavy post-results losses to stand 5.7p higher at 133p.

In a quiet session for corporate news, shares in pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond were flat at 318p despite another strong trading update.

The group, which recently posted higher profits for the 20th year in a row, told shareholders at its AGM that it continued to trade well in the four months to the end of October.

The biggest Footsie risers were Carnival up 34p at 2086p, International Consolidated Airlines Group ahead 1.5p at 143p, ITV up 0.7p at 64.2p and ICAP ahead 3.3p at 344.5p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Capita down 27.5p at 640p, Inmarsat off 17.3p at 419.5p, Arm down 24.5p at 598p, and Weir off 68p at 1783p.

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