THE stock market ended sharply lower yesterday, hit by an opening fall on Wall Street and disappointing figures from the banking giant Lloyds TSB
The FTSE 100 index closed down 73.7 points to 5837.0, while the FTSE 250 ended 2.7 off at 5482.7 and the Small Cap index finished 5.2 points higher at 2472.5.
A large provision for pension mis-selling at Lloyds surprised the market and sent the shares in the banking group plummeting.
Market Report, page 17
US STOCKS headed lower as renewed concerns about Japan overshadowed better than expected second-quarter gross domestic product. The market was still weighed down by worries about falling corporate earnings and the Asian crisis.
At 5.44 BST the Dow Jones stood at 9001.72, down 25.23. "It's very disappointing the market didn't rally with better than expected GDP figures," said Peter Coolide, senior equity trader at Brean Murray & Co.
TOKYO STOCKS closed higher amid hopes the government would move swiftly to revitalise the economy, with the markets focusing on what policies the new finance minister, Kiichi Miyazawa, would adopt. The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 177.37 points, or 1 per cent, to close at 16,378.97.
Mr Miyazawa has already said he prefers tax cuts to a fiscal stimulus to prod consumer spending, while the newly appointed prime minister, Keizo Obuchi, has called for 6 trillion yen in tax cuts.
GERMAN SHARES ended slightly off, dragged down from early advances by Wall Street, with the benchmark Dax index closing 0.12 per cent down at 5,873.92. The Xetra Dax lost 0.76 per cent to close at 5,861.19. Merger speculation buoyed Dresdner Bank shares, which soared 6 per cent.
"There is wild speculation again that the Allianz will merge with Dresdner or otherwise there is some big merger in the wings," one dealer said.
RUSSIAN SHARES eased on profit-taking, with the RTS index falling 0.35 per cent to 149.65. Traders said the market was eager for news from the International Monetary Fund's deputy managing director, Stanely Fischer, who is in Moscow this weekend to check on progress of government reforms. A meeting between Anatoly Chubais, Russia's chief foreign debt negotiator, and President Boris Yeltsin, ended without major news despite rumours that Mr Chubais would be asked back into the government.