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Around the World's Markets: London

LONDON BLUE-CHIP shares yesterday closed lower for the fifth consecutive session, hit by profit-taking and worries over the expiry of option contracts.

The FTSE 100 index fell 26.3 to 6,114.3, with many buyers remaining on the sidelines ahead of today's expiry of the March options series, one of the stock market's traditional bugbears. The smaller indices also came under selling pressure, with the FTSE 250 falling 22 to 5,463.3 and the Small Cap ending 1.1 lower at 2,373.8.