Market Report: The All-share hits 50 – but it's in no mood to party

If the FTSE All-share looked down in the dumps yesterday, slumping to its lowest level since January as traders digested the latest worries over Europe, you can blame it on a mid-life crisis. For Britain's broader index celebrated its 50th birthday yesterday. The All-share index launched on 10 April 1962, was enhanced with the addition of the blue chip FTSE 100 in 1984 and boosted by the addition of the FTSE 250 in October 1992.

When England won the World Cup in 1966, the FTSE All-share closed at 96.86 points. When man first landed on the moon in 1969, it had risen to 131.23. By Black Monday in 1987, it closed at 1,074.58. Fourteen years later, when September 11 saw the FTSE 100's biggest daily fall, the All-share was 2,311.48, while Kate and Wills' wedding last year saw the FTSE All-share at 3,153.03, the FTSE Group reported.

But even toasting five decades of tracking the London equity market wasn't enough to give investors any cheer: the FTSE All-share closed down 2 per cent at 2,911.3 yesterday, while the FTSE 100 dropped 2.24 per cent to end at 5,595.6. Both were marked down on a cocktail of worries – eurozone jitters about Spanish debt, soaring inflation in China, and the City's first trading opportunity to respond to Friday's US jobs figures. They showed that American firms added only 120,000 jobs in March, the fewest in five months and less than forecast.

Barclays dived 5.9 per cent or 13p to 206.3p, followed down by Lloyds Banking Group, off 5 per cent at 29.8p, and Royal Bank of Scotland,which shed 4 per cent to 24.72p. The commodities giants also weighed on the blue chip index, with Vedanta Resources, down 80p at 1,155p, taking the wooden spoon, while Kazakhmys fell 53.5p to 853p.

Bucking that downward drift was Randgold Resources. The yellow metal miner saw its shares battered last week as investors worried about the impact of the military coup in Mali. But yesterday all that glistered was gold, after a deal was struck to end the coup, and Randgold's shares leapt 270p to 5,425p.

Elsewhere in the market came evidence that not everyone was cashing in on the boom for online pictures and video. A day after Facebook splashed out $1bn (£632m) for Instagram, the US start-up that allows friends to share photos, the video search engine Blinkx fell by nearly a quarter.

Traders punished the London-listed Blinkx after it admitted annual revenues, up 72 per cent at $114m, would fail to meet analysts' expectations. The shares dived to a two-year low of 40p before settling at 41.25p, down 21 per cent.

Suranga Chandratillake, the company's chief executive, blamed a "challenging economic climate" and insisted that Blinkx's sales growth still "outperformed the aggressive growth of the online video advertising industry by over 80 per cent". But the shares are now down more than two-thirds since their peak last autumn when they were above 150p.

FirstGroup, the transport giant, was another bruised stock. It has been stuck in reverse gear for more than a month now, after a string of downgrades as it admitted margins at its British bus division would drop by more than a third this year.

Deutsche Bank has already downgraded the stock. Citigroup and Barclays Capital followed suit yesterday, slashing their recommendations from buy to neutral or, as BarCap's analysts esoterically put it, from overweight to equal weight.

Both trimmed their target prices, with a dramatic slash from 435p to 214p by Citigroup. In response, the shares crashed more than 7 per cent, or 15.4p, to 198p.

On the upside, the bid target Ithaca Energy was a big talking point as shares endured a roller-coaster day, hitting a record high of 211p amid talk that shareholders will agree on a sale imminently, before ending the day down 5p at 195p amid the general sell-off. The Canadian group, which has oil-drilling interests in the North Sea, first said in January that it had received an approach. The gossip is that as many as half a dozen bidders have emerged since. But they don't have to show their hand under the UK Takeover Panel rules because Ithaca is based in Canada, with a secondary listing in London.

Pay-TV giant BSkyB was another rare riser, up 18.5p or 2.9 per cent at 654p, as analysts said last week's sell-off looked overblown. The shares slumped after Sky News admitted it had authorised a journalist to hack into emails on two occasions. Sky, which is 39 per cent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and already faces a "fit and proper" test by the regulator Ofcom, insisted the hacking was "in the public interest".

Meanwhile, Trinity Mirror fell 2 per cent or 0.75p to 36p. Legal & Genera l slashed its stake to below 5 per cent ahead of next month's annual general meeting, where the chief executive, Sly Bailey, faces a vote on her remuneration. The shares are now down more than two-thirds since their peak last autumn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Report Writer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...

MBDA UK Ltd: Indirect Procurement Category Manager

Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’