Markets Report: Focus switches back to China and Russia

 

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The Independent Online

The City switched its focus from Scotland back to China and Russia as the Footsie fell on Thursday.

News of a new poll showing a majority of “no” votes against independence helped lift Scottish stocks, but weaker than expected inflation data in China and new sanctions expected to come into force on Russia pushed the benchmark index into the red.

The Perth-based energy group SSE warmed up 40p to 1,485p, Edinburgh-based Standard Life rose 6p to 413.4p and Royal Bank of Scotland was 3.8p higher at 346p. Even the Irn-Bru maker AG Barr perked up 1p to 612.5p on the mid-tier index. But the sentiment didn’t infect the rest of the blue chips and the FTSE 100 fell 30.49 points to 6,799.62. The weak Chinese data hit mining stocks, as commodity groups rely on the Eastern powerhouse. The precious metals miner Fresnillo lost 23p to 819p.

Vodafone fell 1.6p to 203.45p. Its chief executive, Vittorio Colao, said Liberty Global, owned by the US cable king John Malone, could be a good fit for the mobile operator, “for the right price”, but his comments were about the longer term rather than anything imminent.

Fund managers appeared to be feeling the squeeze. The emerging market manager Ashmore said pre-tax profit tumbled 34 per cent to £170.3m in the year to July, with performance fees of just £3.1m – less than a tenth of last year’s figure. It blamed the fall on the strength of sterling against the US dollar and the “market sell-off in May and June” last year. Ashmore said it had cut operating costs by 23 per cent and the shares fell 17.9p to 327p.

First-quarter results  at Darty, Europe’s number three electrical goods retailer, were boosted by strong demand for TV sets during the World Cup.

In France total sales rose  7.1 per cent with like-for- like sales up 2 per cent. But it warned that weaker than expected trading at its Mistergooddeal website would hit its full-year results and the shares fell 7.25p to 77p.

On AIM, the planning consultant WYG bought Alliance Planning for £3.2m to create one of the country’s largest planning advisers. It advanced 4.25p to 115.25p.

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