Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Investors Have No Head for Heights at 4000 Level; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Investors Have No Head for Heights at 4000 Level; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

CITY investors failed to hold the high ground today with an assault on the 4000 eventually fizzling out. The latest US consumer confidence numbers gave an initial boost to Wall Street this afternoon but the Dow was soon trading below its best levels.

Trading conditions in London remained thin after stripping out 200 million shares traded in Corus, up 0.39p to 15.90p after its annual meeting and news of further job losses. The FTSE 100 touched 3976 in early trading before giving up some of the early gains to stand 4.1 up at 3944.4. A trading statement from BAE Systems which contained no shocks was something of a novelty and helped shares in the struggling aerospace giant rise 93/4p to 1341/4p.

Underlying trading, said chairman Sir Richard Evans, has remained broadly in line with 2002, though that does not take account of the hits the group is taking for delayed defence contracts.

Quarterly results from British American Tobacco came in at the top end of expectations and it posted a 5p gain to 6011/2p, which might have been even stronger had it not been for broker ABN Amro urging clients to switch to Imperial Tobacco, down 81/2p at 10451/2p, and Gallaher, off 10p at 599p.

Credit Suisse First Boston has become the latest broker to be worried by the impact of the Sars virus on the European airline industry. It has downgraded most of the major players, including our own British Airways, 21/2p better at 1261/4p.

Only yesterday, broker Merrill Lynch warned Sars might result in some European flag carriers suffering the same fate as several big US rivals. But Merrill is confident BA and Ryanair, up 81/2p at 4381/2p, can benefit from any long-term industry restructuring.

Financial Times publisher Pearson gave up some of yesterday's rise, down 63/4p at 5431/2p. …

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