THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Investors check out from Morrisons

The retailer saw shares drop 6.55 per cent. Picture: PA

The retailer saw shares drop 6.55 per cent. Picture: PA

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CONTINUING falls in sales hit shares in supermarket chain Morrisons hard as the wider market also suffered from election jitters.

The Yorkshire-based retailer saw shares drop 6.55 per cent, or 12.4p, to close at 176.9p as analysts highlighted the scale of the challenge facing new chief executive David Potts.

The FTSE 100 index fell sharply as voters headed to the polls but recovered some its losses by the session close. London’s top-flight tumbled more than 100 points at one point before closing 46.79 points down at 6,886.95.

Jasper Lawler, of CMC Markets, said: “Election day uncertainty has created hesitancy in markets rather than outright fear of the unknown. There’s hardly been a tidal wave of selling but seemingly an unwillingness to jump in with two feet to any stocks until the election result is known.”

Aviva and fellow insurer RSA were in the spotlight after both releasing figures.

The former said its turnaround was ahead of schedule after a 14 per cent lift in the value of new business to £247 million in the first three months of the year. Shares closed up 2.63 per cent, or 13.5p, at 527p.

RSA posted a 1 per cent year-on-year rise in net written premiums to £1.5 billion in the first quarter of the year, although it warned lower interest rates and currency moves were impacting its business. The firm, run by former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester, said during the period it completed the sale of units in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Budget airline EasyJet was also in favour after it published figures showing it carried six million passengers in April, up 3.8 per cent on a year ago. The stock rose 48p to 1,821p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Carnival up 108p at 3,011p, SABMiller up 124.5p at 3,531p and Aberdeen Asset Management up 14.2p at 445.3p.

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