Market Report: Bad news from supermarkets sees FTSE slump to six-month low


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As the final quarter of the year began, the FTSE 100 was in turmoil.

The blue-chip index slumped to a six-month low, down 65.2 points at 6,557.52, as more bad news from supermarkets knocked 3.6 points off the index and pessimism about a recovery in iron ore prices meant miners accounted for 6.63 points lost.

“Investors are struggling,” said Tony Cross, market analyst at investment platform Trustnet Direct. Brenda Kelly, strategist at IG, added: “Until some positive news emerges from somewhere, the selling is likely to continue.”

Royal Mail managed to buck the market, climbing 7.5p to 399.7p thanks to an upgrade from UBS.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel for troubled oil and gas explorer Afren. Earlier in the year the company was forced to suspend four executives, including its chief executive, over unauthorised payments. But Afren said the ongoing investigation into the issue has turned up no other suspicious activity. Afren crept up 5.9p to 109.4p.

Is Blinkx in play? The online video advertising specialist issued its second profit warning of the year, admitting it will only break even in the first half, compared to making $18m (£11m) last year. Peel Hunt cautioned that it may now need to eat into its $115m cash pile and “must seek a corporate buyer”. Blinkx fell 4.5p to 30.75p, a six-and-a-half week low.

Conference operator and publisher UBM rolled the dice on a make-or-break deal, snapping up US rival Advanstar for a hefty $972m (£599m). Shares dropped 34.5p to 548.5p, as UBM said the deal will be funded by a £563m rights issue.

Four Audioboom executives bought into the audio social media company, as part of a £8m placing to fund growth. Audioboom rose 0.75p to 15.87p, with the placing priced at 12.5p.

Graphene Nanochem took quite a tumble on Tuesday after disappointing half-year figures. But it bounced up 7.12p to 45.25p on news that it has received its second ever order for its PlatQuartZ products – graphene-enhanced products for the oilfield chemicals market, valued at $5.6m (£3.5m).