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Market Report: Online retailer Asos goes out of fashion with analysts

Downgrading online fashion star Asos has not worked out well for most of the analysts that have dared.

Yesterday it was Liberum Capital's turn to go bearish on the online retailer. Liberum's analysts follow the likes of Espirito Santo and Jefferies, who have all seen the share price rocket after brave sell notes. During the summer David Reynolds at Jefferies even admitted he was wrong and said his "underperform" rating was "an ill-judged downgrade". Yesterday Liberum said it now doubted the long-term competitive advantage of the website. Its analysts gave a 3,000p price target and admitted that although it had "first mover advantage" they were not convinced it could guarantee "the kind of growth that the market is factoring in." Asos has risen more than a 1000 per cent in less than four years, and more than 100 per cent so far this year. But Liberum's warnings were heeded by at least some punters and shares fell 165p to 5,709p.

There was no sign of a Santa Rally for the wider markets. Forthcoming economic data led traders to expect the worst and the major indices remained in the red. The FTSE 100 fell 62.9 points to 6,532.43.

Weak commodity prices hurt the miners and banking stocks were weak as analysts at Nomura reviewed the sector and downgraded HSBC. It lost 8.9p to 668.4p.

Better retail data helped some of the shop stocks and Next added 115p to 5,515p.

Betting firm William Hill gained 6.1p to 387.1p after a Buy upgrade from UBS analysts, who called it a "quality operator, with a solid retail division and well-executed online offering".

Mid-tier listed online betting group Betfair reported a first-half profit and added 50p to 1,080p.

Vehicle hire group Northgate reported a solid first half update and upped its dividend payout to 3.2p and drove up 5p to 430p.

Troubled pawnbroker and gold buyer Albemarle & Bond tarnished 4p to 14.875p after announcing it had put itself up for sale.

Greene King slipped 31p to 851p after signs of caution among consumers.

A new share deal with Cinnovation Incorporated for Aim-listed teaching specialist AEC Education helped it up 1.875p to 4.5p.