In largely technical trading, as investment houses attempted to square their books ahead of the launch of the euro, the index swung from an early 3.4 gain to a 132.5 loss before late buying cut the fall. Supporting shares bucked the trend, scoring modest gains. BICC, the cable and construction group, was the best performing 350 share, gaining 5.5p to 70.5p on expectations that takeover action will break out in the New Year. Derek Pain, page 21
BLUE CHIPS ended the last trading day of the year looking decidedly ragged with Footsie down 58.9 points at 5,882.6.