Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Footsie Beats the Drag of Ex-Divi Heavyweights

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Footsie Beats the Drag of Ex-Divi Heavyweights

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

LONDON shares rose sharply today despite being weighed down by a longlist of blue-chip companies going exdividend.

The companies going ex their dividends were equivalent to a 30- point drop inthe Footsie 100 index. They included Royal Bank of Scotland , down 13p at 354 14 p, which is paying 23.1p to shareholders, and Standard Chartered , 32p dearerat 1649p, which is shelling out 56.2 cents. There was also Thomas Cook , 8pfirmer at 306 1/2 p ( 5p), Diageo , 4p cheaper at 1027p ( 13.2p), Barclays ,15p down at 441 3/4 p ( 22.5p), Lloyds TSB , 13 1/4 p off at 427p ( 24.7p), BAT, 42p lighter at 1864p ( 47.6p), British Energy , 13 1/2 p lower at 544p(14.5p) and Persimmon, 4p softer at 705p (32.7p).

Bargain-hunters were able to stem the losses of the past few days, having takenthe view that the market was looking oversold. Dealers say these markets arenot easy to trade in with prices often moving on before sizeable orders can becompleted. The FTSE 100 responded with a rise of 42.9 points to 5810.6.However, the best gains were among second-liners, and the FTSE 250 indexclimbed 173.6 to 10,118.0.

Traders are now looking to Wall Street, where dealers are also hoping for amuch-needed rally. But investors will first need to digest some heavyweighteconomic news, which these days does not always make for pleasant reading.

ITV extended its rally with a rise of 1p to 67.5phaving struck a record low of 65.4p earlier this weekdespite producing a big drop in profits. Property developer LibertyInternational led blue-chips higher with a gain of 53p to 996p. The group,whichowns large parts of Covent Garden and Carnaby Street, is being linked withAustralia's Westfield over a possible merger that would create the biggestshopping-malls operator in the UK.

GIC Real Estate, the property arm of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, is alsobeing tipped as a potential suitor.

But any deal would have to have the backing of Liberty boss Donald Gordon, whoowns about 21% of the company. …

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