Market Report: Footsie suffers as gloom spreads from the Far East

The bugbear of Asia returned to haunt the stock market. As the Far Eastern crisis appeared to worsen Footsie fell 98.8 points to 5,138.3.

Not surprisingly shares with a significant Pacific exposure suffered the cruellest blows. The Standard Chartered banking group collapsed 50p to 547p, lowest for more than two years, and HSBC lost 54p to 1,379p, lowest for a year.

Last year Standard touched 1,081.5p; HSBC, with analysts forecasting a run to 2,600p, peaked at 2,347p.

Cable & Wireless, with its extensive Far Eastern network, retreated 23p to 494p and international trader Inchcape came off another 7p to 153p.

Until the latest bout of Asian flu, hopes were high that the stock market would soon achieve a new closing peak, topping the 5,330.8 hit in October. Although the undertone seemed firm, equities could not be expected to move serenely ahead with so many markets in despair.

New York remained off-colour although the volatile payroll figures failed to create much of a stir.

BT was one of a handful of blue chips to ignore the gloom, ringing in a 2p gain to 502.5p, largely on hopes that it plans another cash distribution through a special dividend. BG, the big mover and shaker on Thursday, slipped 1.25p to 303.75p, although its former gas arm, Centrica, edged ahead 1.75p to 95.5p, reflecting the settlement of the last of its cash- sapping take-and-pay gas contracts.

It was not only Far Eastern banking shares which came under pressure. After recent gains the domestic variety were clearly vulnerable to a downturn and Barclays fell 60p to 1,650p and National Westminster Bank 51p to 1.020p. Insurances, also recent higher flyers, felt the pinch.

Among second liners Booker, the cash and carry group, endured a drubbing after producing a profits warning which must have embarrassed SBC Warburg. The shares fell 66.5p to 272.5p.

This week the investment house made positive noises about the food group and its shares rose 21.5p, Warburg was impressed by Booker's cost-cutting programme and Charles Bowen, chief executive, said its conclusions were "absolutely right".

He said the group's trading situation only came to light on Thursday and to prevent a false share market developing he decided to issue a warning that profits would be "somewhat below" pounds 80m. The market expected more than pounds 90m.

Yorklyde, a luxury scarves group, was another hit by a profit warning, falling 40.5p to 97p.

Scottish & Newcastle, the brewing group, lost much of a 10p gain after it became apparent it will have to end its exclusive beer supply deal with the 4,300 outlets of the Grand Pub Co. Although it will still deliver to the pubs it will have to include the products of other brewers on its drays. The shares ended 2p higher at 742p.

Share buy-in activity continued, with General Electric Co, up 2.25p at 394.5p, picking up 18.5 million shares at 395p.

WH Smith's possible sale of its Waterstone's book shops rekindled thoughts of a cash handout, lifting the shares 7.5p to 423p. And Somerfield managed to cling to the bid story, moving ahead a further 5p to 235.5p. Latest theory is that Asda, should it bid, would retain the bigger outlets, selling the smaller units to a chain such as Budgens, up 1p to 58.5p.

Sketchley, where a mystery bidder had apparently been approaching major shareholders, gained a further 12p to 58p. There is talk of a 75p a share offer. Disposals are expected in the next few weeks.

Retailers were mixed as the market waited for the next round of Christmas trading statements. Boots, Dixons, Kingfisher and Next are among those due next week, with Dixons adding the additional muscle of interim profits figures.

Premier Oil firmed 1.5p to 52.5p. It has made what it describes as a "significant discovery" off Indonesia. Most other oil shares were lower, with British Petroleum off 12p at 778p.

Arriva, the former Cowie group, motored 24p to 372p on the back of recent continental expansion.

Amey, the high flying construction group, gave up 42.5p to 414p. The company confirmed that Ministry of Defence police were looking into services management contracts at one of its subsidiaries. Amey described the probe as a "routine investigation". The shares have enjoyed a spectacular run, largely on the back of railway maintenance contracts. Two years ago they were 117p.

Oriental Restaurants rose 12p to 251.5p, reacting to recent favourable comments from ABN Amro Hoare Govett.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most