Britain’s benchmark share index fell for a fifth straight session yesterday, retreating further from five-year highs as a lack of resolution on a rescue for Cyprus hit investor confidence.
While the island may account for a mere 0.2 per cent of the eurozone economy, the crisis in Cyprus has cast the spotlight back on to the problems in the region and dampened appetite for risky assets across the globe.
The FTSE 100 index retreated 44.15 points or 0.7 per cent to 6,388.55, while Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac-40 indices suffered even greater falls.
David Jones, chief market strategist at IG, said: “Like their US counterparts, eurozone leaders have a habit of pulling off a deal at the last minute, so investors and Cypriot depositors need to keep their fingers crossed.”
The euro was badly affected by the Cyprus bankruptcy fears, with the pound up by 0.7 per cent against the single currency at €1.174. Sterling was also higher against the dollar at $1.52.
Shares in fashion chain Next were at the top of a shortened risers’ board after it posted a 9 per cent rise in full-year profits to £622 million. The progress came despite its admission that recent trading had been quiet and that profits growth was likely to be limited this year. Analysts are well used to the company’s cautious updates and they looked beyond the uncertainty to power shares up by 167p to 4,314p – a gain of 4 per cent.
Rival retailers fared less well, with Marks & Spencer down 2.4p to 390p and Sainsbury’s off 6.7p to 367.9p.
Smart Metering Systems, the Glasgow-based meter specialist, reported a sharp rise in full-year profits after revenues rose by a third, boosted by contracts with Eon and SSE. Its shares closed up 7.9 per cent or 18p at 245p.
NEW YORK: US stocks fell last night after Oracle fell short of revenue expectations and worries about Cyprus’s effect on the eurozone’s finances intensified.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid 90.39 points, or 0.62 per cent, to end at 14,421.34 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 12.91 points, or 0.83 per cent, to finish at 1,545.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 31.59 points, or 0.97 per cent, to close at 3,222.60.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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