Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fears for Shares If ECB Leaves Rates Unchanged; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fears for Shares If ECB Leaves Rates Unchanged; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MALCOLM WITHERS

DEALERS were today predicting that the market could go into a tailspin if the European Central Bank decides to leave interest rates unchanged. They were reconciled to a no-change policy by the Bank of England but were concerned that the ECB may not act when the London decision is released at 12.45pm today.

In the calm created by Wall Street overnight before a possible storm later, equities remained steady, buoyed by a vote of confidence from P&O that has decided to place [pounds sterling]120 million of its shares in the market.

Although American business in convertibles has been good recently, the move by P&O, down 6p at 224p, could herald more placings. The FTSE 100 index responded with a 17.4-point gain to 4144.0.

WPP continued to advance, up 63/4p to 5123/4p, on the back of New York's rise.

Credit Suisse First Boston depressed telecoms group BT by cutting its rating to underperform from outperform.

The Swiss broker is concerned about BT in the face of competition to its fixed-line franchise from mobile phones and the financial implications of its dividend strategy. The shares have had a good run since March when they hit an all-time low of 141p and today they slipped 1/4p to 192p.

The oil sector, enjoying a rally on the back of peace moves in the Middle East, was hit by a Goldman Sachs' review that concentrated on UK oil giant BP. The American broker has cut its rating on BP to in line from its previous outperform stance and is worried about its possible costly expansion programme that has taken it into Russia. BP shares suffered a 1p setback with other oils such as Shell up 11/4p to 414p and oil and gas explorer BG Group up 1/2p to 1751/2p.

Sainsbury's loss of market share for a third month out of the past four, slipping to 15. …

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