Market Report: Marks and Spencer tumbles after online orders delays leave customers waiting two weeks for products

 

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The Independent Online

Christmas shopping can be a nightmare at the best of times but at least you’d think the shops would have a handle on it all – not so Marks & Spencer, apparently.

The retailer went tumbling on Monday after it emerged at the weekend that online orders are facing major delays. Items are reportedly taking up to two weeks to reach customers, while next-day delivery to stores has also been suspended due to problems at distribution centres.

Such disruption during the crucial Christmas period could deal a hammer blow to Marks & Sparks, which has only recently shown signs of turning around poor performance. It lost 13.4p to 483.5p.

With few bright spots about, the FTSE 100 tumbled 70.69 points to 6672.15. Mining engineer Weir fell 97p to 1741p after a steep target price cut from the US broker Cowen & Co, from 2607p to 2297p.

Suggestions that GlaxoSmithKline could be interested in US pharmaceutical company Ariad were revived yesterday. The rumour was first mooted at the start of the year, but more recently AstraZeneca, down 44p at 4695.5p, has been mentioned as a possible suitor. Speculators are hoping this could bring Glaxo, off 10.5p at 1460p, back to the table.

The troubled Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk lost almost a third of its value after announcing refinancing plans that included a deeply discounted rights issue.

The company, formerly known as Peter Hambro Mining, has been plunged into crisis by the falling price of gold in recent years, which has left it struggling under the weight of a $900m debt pile.

Yesterday management outlined plans to pay off $310.5m of bonds due next year through a mixture of $100m of new five-year convertible bonds and $235m in cash, raised through a rights issue at just 5p a share. Petropavlovsk tumbled 4.75p to 11.25p.

South African platinum miner Lonmin dropped 10.9p to 167.2p after warning that its number one furnace had packed up and would take up to three months to fix. The miner said the rebuild would push sales back but not affect forecasts for the full year.

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