Just a modest bloodbath after New York's Easter fall


As bloodbaths go it was a modest affair; Footsie ended with a 64.8 points fall, recovering almost half of its early setback.

With New York suffering a near 300 points decline over Easter the stock market was clearly set for a bumpy session. In the opening minutes market- makers took advantage of the fraught climate to undertake a savage round of mark downs and Footsie was quickly off 112.4. Prices recovered marginally during the rest of the morning but it was not until the afternoon session that shares took on a more positive note, with a ripple of relief lifting them to their best levels of the day as New York, somewhat hesitantly, edged forward.

Once again US interest rate fears have done the damage. Evidence America will soon require more rate increases to take some of the heat out of the economy has upset Wall Street.

The Easter stumble has rekindled long-running fears the US bull market has been lassoed and world markets face an uncomfortable future. But, in the past few years, each time Wall Street has faltered the sheer weight of US pension money has produced another bounce.

As the world's biggest share market, New York's impact on London is always telling. But there have been signs the two markets have to some extent decoupled and it was perhaps significant that yesterday's slump was very much a knee-jerk, in-house reaction rather than the result of waves of selling.

Indeed, much of the day's trading related to year-end tax considerations with investors embarking on bed and breakfast deals or locking in profits.

Many institutions are awash with cash, prompting a certain amount of wariness they may take advantage of what they regard as unjustified price falls.

Hanson, the building materials group, was the worst-performing blue chip, ending 14p off at 272p. Next came BT, strong in the past few weeks on MCI considerations, off 17.5p to 428p.

Reuters was another big casualty, giving up 22.5p to 596.5p, its lowest for 12 months.

The shares are suffering from the strong pound, increasing competition and the failure of its cash handout to go through.

It was the turn of many of the high flyers to get burnt. Banks gave ground; ABN Amro Hoare Govett added to their discomfort by downgrading profit expectations for Royal Bank of Scotland, off 13p at 524p. Barclays, 1,216p earlier this year, was at one time down to 986.5p. The shares closed off 8p at 1,013p.

The banks have been in the forefront of the market's surge to record levels. Some suggest they hold the key to its direction; if they crack then shares are set for a dramatic downturn. Still, National Westminster bank eased fears of a financial slide by being one of only nine Footsie constituents to achieve a plus - 7p at 693.5p.

EMI, which has been in a dreadful spin on competition worries, enjoyed the biggest gain, up 29p to 1,144p on hopes supermarkets could after all provide a profit boost.

Somic, an obscure yarn business traded on the little-used Seats market, was the most untroubled share in sight - zooming 72p to 158.5p as Neville Buch, former head of Blenheim Exhibitions, joined the board after picking up a 22 per cent interest.

Amstrad, Alan Sugar's vehicle, was another on song with a 21.5p rise to 221.5p after selling its loss-making mobile telephone business for a fancy pounds 92m. Office equipment group Nobo rose 17p to 128.5p as takeover talks got under way.

Waverley Mining fell 10p to 55p as it dropped legal action against Bre- X, the Canadian group which appeared to have discovered what was billed as the richest gold mine in the world. But doubts about the value of the Indonesian prospect have since appeared.

Tuskar Resources' acquisition of further off-shore African oil interests left the shares off 0.25p at 5.25p. Premier Oil, where hopes of intriguing developments hover, gained 1.5p to 37p. Newcomer Avalon Oil, issued at 100p, reached 103.5p.

Loox, an optical group, returned to AIM after appointing stockbroker Raphael Zorn Hemsley as its adviser; unfortunately it also forecast bigger losses than expected, more than halving the shares to 37.5p.

Leeds, the textile group, rose 1.5p to 150.5p; the shares hit 260p a year ago. Stockbroker Henry Cooke Lumsden say the profit recovery is stronger than many suspect.

Analyst Peter Dzedzora looks for profits moving from pounds 5.5m to pounds 9m this year and then to pounds 10.5m. He predicts the shares will reach 270p.

Taking Stock

r World Fluids returns to market tomorrow as Peterhead, a crane and fork lift truck operator. The colourful former chemicals, exploration and minerals company has undergone a root and branch overhaul since the shares were suspended, for the second time, last September. The restructuring involved the takeover of Peterhead, a mobile crane operator, and Birchwood, a fork lift truck group. The acquisitions were funded party by a placing and open offer of new shares at 70p. World Fluids arrived on the Dublin market in 1989. Its shares, now about to enjoy a full listing, were suspended at 7p.

r Newcastle United is expected to make a tame market debut today, possibly having to be content with a 10p premium to its 135p flotation price.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - IFA Based

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road