Arm pulled lower by US tech sector

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CHIP maker Arm Holdings was the biggest top-flight faller yesterday in a session that saw traders consolidate recent gains.

Arm was dragged down by below par earnings updates from US tech giants Google and Microsoft the night before, which sent shares 2.6 per cent lower to 897.5p.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Aside from Vodafone, investors have been left bereft of corporate results in any meaningful form, and so have turned to defensives as they look to trim positions at the end of a busy week.”

The FTSE 100 actually pulled back most of its losses in the final hour, to close just 3.69 points lower at 6,630.67.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone made headway following first quarter results, up 2.5p to 193.8p, despite revealing a 3.5 per cent fall in underlying service revenues. The group talked up the value of its £9.1 billion deal to buy Germany’s biggest cable company, Kabel Deutschland – hailing it as a pivotal move in its “most important market”, with the optimism apparently shared by traders.

Barclays was also in the spotlight as it emerged that Abu Dhabi sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who helped the bank avoid a government bailout at the height of the financial crisis, has sold his 7 per cent stake in the bank. Shares in the group lifted 3p to 320p.

In the second tier, online grocer Ocado rose 2.4p to 321.4p, after shareholders gave the thumbs up to its deal to provide an online service for supermarket Morrisons. Under the agreement, Morrisons is buying the firm’s technology and a warehouse to launch a website by January, but there has been controversy over the move, with Ocado’s existing supermarket partner Waitrose expressing some concern.

NEW YORK: The Nasdaq composite index fell last night as disappointing results from Microsoft and Google dragged down the technology sector, but the S&P 500 index edged up to finish at a record high.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 4.65 points, or 0.03 per cent, to close at 15,543.89 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 2.72 points, or 0.16 per cent, to end on 1,692.09 and the Nasdaq composite dropped 23.66 points, or 0.66 per cent, closing at 3,587.61.