Market Report: Footsie enjoys its best quarter in two years - but you wouldn't know it


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The Independent Online

The Footsie has just had its best quarter in two years, but you wouldn’t know it from looking.

The FTSE 100 stands 3.3 per cent higher than at the start of the year, having enjoyed a record-breaking run that finally saw it break through the 7,000 barrier. But yesterday, as the first three months of 2015 came to an end, the blue-chip index tumbled 118.39 points to 6,891.43 – a three week low. Tony Cross, an analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Today has been nothing short of a washout for the FTSE 100. Traders appear to be using the quarter end as an opportunity to book profits off the run of gains.”

Anglo American wallowed at the foot of the index, down 48p at 1,012p after Deutsche Bank cut its target price for the miner in a downbeat note on the sector. Rivals Glencore, off 5.95p at 285.9p, and BHP Billiton, down 38.5p at 1,473.5p, also suffered.

Imperial Tobacco faltered, losing 105p to 2,963p ahead of talks with US regulators this week over the mega-merger of tobacco giants Reynolds and Lorillard. Imperial is set to buy £4.2bn worth of assets as part of the deal.

At the other end of the index, Babcock bounced 21.5p to 984.5p thanks to cheery notes from Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Exane and Jefferies. All were impressed by the defence giant’s analyst and investor day.

New Supergroup boss Euan Sutherland is filling out his portfolio, spending just over £99,000 on shares in the Superdry owner, which fell 18p to 954.5p.

Card Factory’s private equity owners have cashed out. Charterhouse, which floated the business at 225p a share last May, has sold its remaining 60.6 million shares to institutions, with filings revealing that Old Mutual was among them. No price was given for the sales, but the shares have been trading close to all-time highs and Charterhouse is likely to have netted itself about £175m. Card Factory fell 2.3p to 295.3p.

Quindell’s controversial founder is back on AIM. Rob Terry yesterday snapped up a 7.4 per cent stake in the troubled broker Daniel Stewart, the very firm that helped bring Quindell to market and advised it. Daniel Stewart leapt 1.5p to 1.7p; Quindell fell 10p to 135p.