Cookson slumps

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COOKSON, the electronics, ceramics and plastics producer, issued a warning of tough trading conditions yesterday which sent the shares sharply lower. By the close they had fallen 13p to 120p, down almost 60 per cent from their high six months ago, writes Clifford German.

Group operating profits for the nine months to September fell back to levels of the previous year after being 8 per cent up at the half-way stage. The impact of sterling cut operating profits by about pounds 4m. Fourth- quarter trading is still difficult. The electronics division, which generated 40 per cent of profits last year, is performing well.