TUESDAY MARKET CLOSE: M&S under pressure

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Marks & Spencer was among the biggest blue chip fallers after disappointing retail figures added to concerns over the health of the high street.

The shares were down 3.4 per cent at 463.8p, a day after brokers Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank cut their forecasts for the firm’s clothing sales and figures from researcher Kantar Worldpanel showed M&S’s slice of the womenswear market fell further in the 24 weeks to the end of August.

Among the other retailers, Next was down 75p at 4,955, while in the second tier Dixons slipped 1.9p to 44.6p.

The wider market also had a hard day as the US government shutdown continued to affect sentiment on this side of the pond. The FTSE 100 Index slipped more than 1 per cent, closing 71.45 points lower at 6,365.83.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “US political bickering has hung over the markets like choking smog, limiting traders’ ability to see blue sky, let alone silver linings. If progress is not made soon it’s likely that markets will begin to act more directly to the lingering fears and some aggressive down days could be on the cards.”

Financial stocks were among those wilting under the spreading clouds of doubt, with Standard Life down 3 per cent at 341.1p and Lloyds Banking Group 2.4 per cent lower at 72.52p.

Broadcaster ITV was near the top of a shortened FTSE 100 risers board, as its shares closed at 183.6p, a rise of 1.8p in the session. The company is benefiting from chief executive Adam Crozier’s drive to offset volatile advertising markets by spending on original TV content.

Persimmon was another a rare climber, up 10p at 1,077p as lenders launched mortgage products backed by the new phase of the Help to Buy scheme.