Financial Week: THE WEEK'S REVIEW

The Birmingham Post (England), December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

Financial Week: THE WEEK'S REVIEW


Monday A brighter-than-expected start to the week on Wall Street helped the London market to recover some of Monday's losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped the previous Friday, pushing the FTSE 100 Index down nearly 30 points in early trading.

But the Footsie ended the day 7.2 points up at 4359.8 as the Dow upset forecasts of an opening fall by rising 35 points.

Notwithstanding the upbeat start in New York, analysts said US investors were likely to sit on the sidelines until the Federal Reserve's interest rates decision on Tuesday.

They attributed the fall in London to investors booking profits and winding down for Christmas.

Nevertheless, the Footsie appeared to be heading for its first annual improvement in four years, one expert said.

Telecoms group Cable & Wireless buoyed investors by announcing an exit route for its US businesses.

C&W led blue-chip companies as it posted a 7% or 5p gain in its share price to 134.25p after sealing an agreement with would-be buyer Gores Tech-nology.Tuesday A brief foray by US shares above the key 10,000 mark failed to keep the FTSE 100 clear of its own 4400 threshold on Tuesday.

The Footsie broke through the psychologically important barrier on more than one occasion during the session, but drifted back to close 19.8 points up at 4379.6.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average momentarily topped the 10,000 threshold, but retreated to stand about 13 points up at 9978 by London's close.

Analysts said dealers on Wall Street were taking stock of the situation, having pushed the Dow above 10,000 early on.

Traders said the continuing slide of the dollar would continue to buoy equity markets, particularly if the Federal Reserve decided to keep rates on hold.

But they added that London would be in cautious mood the next morning ahead of the Chancellor's pre-budget statement.

Cruise operator Carnival found itself at the top of the Footsie risers board after broker Credit Suisse First Boston raised its 12-month target for the group to 2675p from 2375p ahead of fourth quarter results next week.

CSFB cited recent checks with travel agents showing that booking volume growth remained healthy. Carnival shares rose 4.5% or 93p to 2160p.

Abbey National headed the risers in the banking sector with an 11.75p hike to 535.75p.

HBOS and Alliance & Leicester were close behind, picking up 7p to 728.5p and 8.5p to 885p respectively.

HSBC lost earlier gains, but still ended the day in positive territory, up 1.5p to 875.5p. However, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 1p to 495p and 6p to 1616p respectively.

Wednesday London shares closed in negative territory mid-week after investors found little to cheer in Chancellor Gordon Brown's Pre-Budget Report. …

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