WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE slips further in nervous session

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ITV and Tesco were among blue-chips to suffer losses amid lacklustre trading that sent the FTSE 100 further away from its recent 14-year high.

The index was down 31.35 points at 6,799.15, having come close to a record high on Monday following a seven-day winning streak but fallen back in the following session.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “Tuesday appears to have been more than just a momentary loss of nerves, as once again the FTSE has been sold off having hit fourteen year-highs.”

Broadcaster ITV was one of the biggest fallers, in spite of results revealing a 27 per cent rise in full-year profits and promising shareholders a special dividend for the second year in a row. The fall of 2 per cent or 4.6p to 201.5p followed strong gains for the share price in the last year, with Citi among brokers now believing the stock is fully valued.

Other fallers included Tesco as analysts calculated the impact of Tuesday’s strategy update, when it pledged to invest £200 million on cutting prices. It also vowed to review its profit margins in terms of pounds not percentage terms. With signs of a recovery in sales still a long way off, Shore Capital said it was too early to recommend buying the stock, which was 9.2p lower at 326p.

Rival Sainsbury’s was 4.6p lower at 345.5p and Morrisons slipped 4.6p to 235p as investors braced themselves for a price war in the sector.

Glasgow-based pumps and valve firm Weir Group was the biggest riser in the top flight as it predicted a return to underlying growth this year. Shares jumped 7 per cent or 167p to 2,519p, an all-time high for the stock.

The first day of conditional dealings for shares in online appliances retailer AO got off to a strong start, with the stock jumping from its opening price of 285p to 378p.