FTSE rally ends as traders bank gains

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The FTSE 100 edged lower yesterday as traders banked some of their recent gains, bringing a three-day rally to an end.

With US economic growth figures giving little guidance to the market, the Footsie slipped 16.17 points to 6,426.42.

William Nicholls at Capital Spreads said: “The FTSE is about 150 points better off [this week] so investors will feel fairly content over the weekend. However, most intra-day traders will probably be finding current markets a bit of a quandary.”

Miners were among the biggest fallers, on fears for the global demand outlook. The heaviest loser was Eurasian Natural Resources, with shares down 19.7p to 269.3p amid ongoing concerns about a probe by the Serious Fraud Office and the recent departure of a number of senior figures. Also in the mining sector, Antofagasta was down 37.5p to 916p and Evraz fell back by 6.5p to 160.1p.

Leading the blue-chip risers’ board was Capita, up 23.5p to 886p after the outsourcing provider announced a new joint venture with the Cabinet Office. It is to take over a 51 per cent stake in the UK government’s management training services to create a business delivering revenues to both parties.

Standard Life’s good run of form following a strong update this week came to an abrupt end after chief financial officer Jackie Hunt left for rival Prudential. Standard Life was down 4.6p at 387.3p, but the Pru rose 29p to 1,120p following the move and a renewed “buy” note from broker Shore Capital.

Shares in advertising and marketing group WPP were slightly lower despite posting first-quarter revenue growth of 5.9 per cent. It slipped 10p at 1,065p with analysts saying the growth was already factored into the share price.

NEW YORK: US stocks ended little changed in thin volume last night, though the market had a strong week overall despite a mixed bag of earnings and weak economic figures.

The Dow Jones industrial 
average edged up 11.90 points, or 0.08 per cent, to close at 14,712.70 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 2.91 points, or 0.18 per cent, to end the day on 1,582.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 10.72 points, or 0.33 per cent, closing at 3,279.26.