Market Report: Greenspan Leaves Footsie Cautious

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London shares remained downbeat last night as traders acted cautiously ahead of Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony to the US Congress.

The FTSE 100 Index closed 8.9 points down at 4396 despite earlier gains which took it above the key 4400 barrier.

Analysts said the Footsie was also dragged down by concerns over Vodafone's possible acquisition plans and the dollar failing to make headway against sterling.

ITV topped the Footsie risers as it lifted in line with media stocks across Europe. One analyst said Comcast's bid for Disney had reignited interest in companies that had been the target of takeover talks. ITV -up 4.25p at 140.25p -has been seen as a target for US media firms such as Viacom.

The mood in engineering was helped by a broker upgrade for defence group BAE Systems, a note that lifted shares 4.5p to 166p.

BAE's gain pulled GKN higher, up 5.25p at 267.25p, while Rolls-Royce lifted 1p to 185.25p.

BSkyB shook off a lacklustre start to join the list of Footsie risers after encouraging investors with plans for its first dividend in more than five years. The group, whose shares rose 9p to 776p, said it was resuming payments 'in light of its financial health' as it posted profits of pounds 130 million for the six months to December 31, against pounds 12 million a year ago.

Elsewhere on the results front, Yell Group remained constant at 327. …