Market report: Little seasonal cheer as Footsie suffers its worst Christmas

Shares failed to hit the festive jackpot this year. Usually they enjoy a spectacular spree in the Christmas run-up. Indeed a way to have made money in most years in the past two decades has been to buy Footsie as the second half of December arrived.

But not this year. On Christmas Eve the blue-chip index fell 35.9 points to 5,013.9. At one time it was down 45.2.

So, unless there is a more rewarding display next week, the yearly Footsie gamble will have been lost.

In the second part of the month Footsie has so far witnessed a 31.3 decline. It has, however, achieved a 182.1 gain since December dawned, drawing its strength in the first few days of the month.

The Christmas Eve display was the worst on the last trading day before Christmas since the Footsie was created in 1984.

New York's overnight decline ensured what is always little more than a token session opened hesitantly. With most offices operating with skeleton staffs and only a few fund managers bothering to leave the comfort of their homes there was little buying interest. Seaq volume was 241.6 million.

Sears, the struggling retailer which sold another chunk of its once renown shoe empire on Tuesday, accounted for 38 million. A single unmatched trade, possibly a bed and breakfast deal, of 37.7 million shares was the decisive influence. The price was a shade over 47p. It left Sears off 1p at 49.5p.

Premier Asset Management, a venture capitalist-style operation which used to be called Gabriel Trust, was responsible, if the publication was correct, for a further 28 million. The price held at 15.75p.

There was, however, considerable volatility as the market drew towards its traditional lunch time close. Order-driven trading was to blame; there did not appear to be many large trades in the final 30 minutes.

Blue Circle Industries celebrated its quick return to Footsie with a 6p gain to 338p and Rolls-Royce, up 2p at 230p, continued to draw strength from the Henderson Crosthwaite buy circular.

RioTinto, the resources group, had a bumpy ride although there was little trading. The shares fell 30.5p to 705p, just above their year's low. The group's 67 per cent owned Camalco off-shoot is buying control of an Italian aluminium refinery.

Two of Tuesday's best performers, insurer Sun Life & Provincial and mobile phone group Vodafone. gave ground. Sun Life fell 24p to 416p and Voders 10.5p to 440p.

Cadbury Schweppes had an unseasonable time, off 11.5p to 601p. It has been ruffled by Coca-Cola's pounds 500m swoop on Orangina, the French soft drink group owned by Pernod Ricard. Pernod is thought to be putting together a war chest to bid for some of Diageo's brands, such as Dewar's, the top selling Scotch whisky in the US.

Retailers remained unsettled on the early arrival of the "January" sales with Dixons down 6p at 602p. But International Greetings rose 15p to 442.5p after reporting Christmas sales of its cards, gift ware and crackers were up 10 per cent from last year.

Danka Business Systems had another poor session. Hit for six when it produced a surprise profit warning the shares had staged a modest recovery. Now it is being sued by US investors for allegedly making misleading statements.

Its warning last week sent the shares crashing 292.5p to 217.5p. They have since clawed their way back to 348.5p. The legal action pushed them to 222.5p. In the summer the shares were 787.5p.

Biocompatibles International, the hard-pressed health care group, managed a 27.5p gain to 455p. presumably a knee jerk reaction to a modest US buy. Galen, the health care group which this week arrived in the FTSE 250 index, added 14p to 338.5p and media buyer Aegis hardened 0.5p to 67.5p after the FMR investment group picked up nearly 1 per cent, taking its stake to 5.07 per cent.

There was a smattering of action on the under card. Fairway, a printer, jumped 21p to 61.5p following a bid approach and Tepnel Life Sciences, the health group suffering from a boardroom split, rose 5.5p to 37.5p.

Abacus Recruitment, which recently said profits were running ahead of expectations, put on 26p to a 260p peak.

Helical Bar, the property group, held at 558p. It has sold a London office property to a German group for pounds 27m. Forth Ports remained at 615p after the Scottish Office made favourable noises about its ambitious Leith waterfront development.

Manders, the ink group, was unchanged at 245p as bidder Flint Ink, a US group, picked up 8.27 per cent of the capital at 248p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015