Wednesday market close: Asos falls as boss quits

Asos shares fell after its chief executive stepped down
Asos shares fell after its chief executive stepped down
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Markets steadied amid rumours of renewed Chinese state intervention to shore up share prices, but online fashion retailer Asos was pushed lower after founder Nick Robertson stood down as chief executive.

Shares in the Aim-quoted firm, founded by Robertson 15 years ago, closed down 2.8 per cent, or 84p, at 2,900p as it said chief operating officer Nick Beighton was taking the top job.

On the main market, the FTSE 100 Index, which tumbled 3 per cent in the previous session after a raft of gloomy manufacturing data, gained 24.77 points to end the day at 6,083.31.

Markets have been plunged into volatility in recent weeks amid fears over China’s economy, but its exchanges will be closed for a holiday to mark Japan’s defeat in World War Two.

Spreadex financial analyst Connor Campbell said: “How the markets react to two days without the presence of China will be interesting. In theory the respite should allow some semblance of calm to return. In practice, however, investors’ fears over what happens when China returns next Monday make take precedent, causing a risk-averse tone to creep back in.”

Among London’s top-flight shares, industrial equipment hire group Ashtead led the gainers, jumping 71p or 7.7 per cent to 988p after reporting a 23 per cent surge in pre-tax profits to £155.4 million for the three months to the end of July.

Elsewhere, oil firms remained under pressure as the price of a barrel of Brent crude continued to hover below $50. BP fell 4.1p to 345.3p, while Royal Dutch Shell dipped 5.5p to 1,640.5p.

Miners were also out of favour, with Glencore the heaviest faller on the FTSE 100, dropping 10.7p or 8 per cent to 122.8p. Randgold Resources was down 96p at 3,830p.