FTSE falters but makes monthly gain

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London’s leading share index suffered a fresh drubbing yesterday amid volatile trading but still managed to notch up its 12th month of gains in a row.

Continuing concerns that the US Federal Reserve will ease back on its asset buying programme saw another bout of profit taking, pushing the benchmark FTSE 100 index down 73.9 points or 1.1 per cent to close at 6,583.09.

There were also sharp falls for the Cac 40 in France and Germany’s Dax as eurozone unemployment hit a new high. The falls in European equities came despite robust US data on consumer confidence and manufacturing.

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “Economic data releases in Europe were in stark contrast to their US counterparts, with the overall eurozone unemployment numbers establishing a new record of 12.2 per cent and German retail sales and inflation data also failing to cheer.”

Conglomerate Smiths Group confirmed talks to sell its medical division, thought to be worth £2 billion. It said it had received a preliminary approach for Smiths Medical and was in early stage discussions, but shares fell 11p to 1,379p.

Another blue chip deal came from Lloyds Banking Group, which announced it was selling a tranche of US mortgage bonds to various buyers for £3.3bn to shore up its balance sheet.

Shares in the taxpayer-backed lender rose 0.5 per cent or 0.3p to 62.1p, above the 61.2p break-even price set out by the UK government. Royal Bank of Scotland gained 5.1p to 336.6p.

Topping the risers’ board was bookmaker William Hill, which launched a corporate bond to institutional investors to raise around £375 million. Shares were up 1.9 per cent, or 7.9p, at 442.7p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street extended losses late in the session last night, with the Dow and the S&P 500 both falling 1 per cent, weighed by declines in energy and healthcare shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 154.44 points, or 1.01 per cent, to end the day at 15,170.09 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 18.25 points, or 1.10 per cent, closing at 1,636.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 25.89 points, or 0.74 per cent, to finish on 3,465.41.