Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jitters over China Throw the Footsie into Reverse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jitters over China Throw the Footsie into Reverse

Article excerpt


THE London stock market's recent strong run came to a grinding halt today as investors rushed to shift some of the money off the table on news that China was taking measures to slow down its economy, the world's fastest-growing.

Perhaps traders had in mind the old saying "sell in May and go away", or maybe they just thought financial markets had run far enough for the time being. Either way, share prices beat a hasty retreat despite strong showings on Wall Street overnight and in the Far East today.

The FTSE 100 index fell 74.4 points to 6029.9, the oil companies and miners again dictating the course of events. Mining shares were hit as China, whose booming economy has forced up the price of base metals to record levels, raised interest rates. So perhaps it was not the best of days for US broker Goldman Sachs to raise its ratings on the big miners to reflect the prospects for stronger base metal prices.

Goldman lifted Anglo-Swiss outfit Xstrata, down 115p at 1966p, from underperform to inline.

Companies with big exposure to metals such as copper and zinc are likely to outperform the platinum producers except for Lonmin, down 116p at 2618p.

Only BHP Billiton, off 52p at 1120p, is downgraded from outperform to inline.

Other miners to come under the hammer included Kazakhmys, 78p cheaper at 11271/2p, Anglo American, 128p at 2289p, Rio Tinto, 135p at 2994p, and Antofagasta, 116p at 2352p.

Diamonds really are a girl's best friend, especially if the sparkler concerned is anything like the one dug up by Petra Diamonds in South Africa.

Chief executive Johan Dippenaar said the 67-carat diamond had been sold for $704,000 ([pounds sterling]394,000) to an unnamed buyer.

"It bears testimony to the stones that can be produced from our South African operations," he added. Petra rose 31/4p to 913/4p.

Oil shares reflected a softening in the crude price on world markets with BP trading 171/2p lower at 6801/2p, Royal Dutch Shell, down 42p at 1996p, BG off 12p at 756p, and recent high-flyer Cairn Energy contracting 71p to 2321p.

Retailer Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, shaded 21/4p to 2263/4p after US house Morgan Stanley and rival broker Credit Suisse slashed their pre-tax profits forecasts ahead of next month's first-quarter update. …

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