Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Traders in a Grim Mood as UK Loses Life-Support System; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Traders in a Grim Mood as UK Loses Life-Support System; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon English

sToCK-MArKeT traders are an apocalyptic lot.

"it's a sea of red," said one glumly, referring to his screen. "Fear and panic," said another.

"Pass the ouzo and a revolver," said the ever-optimistic Jeremy batstone-Carr at Charles stanley .

The mood was grim, and no wonder. The FTse 100 index fell again today, off 93.63 points at 5045.68, as yesterday's late slide showed no signs of being reversed.

The idea that the bull market is back, which became almost common ground at the end of last year, is now just a memory.

so far this year the london stock market has had 13 down days (including today) and 12 ups. That's no one's idea of a healthy market -- in 2009 by comparison, hardly a stellar year in itself, there were 137 up trading days and 116 downs.

it seems increasingly clear that the underlying support for prices lately has come from the bank of england's quantitative easing (Qe) scheme. With the printing presses now on pause, stockmarkets are on their own.

Phil Gillett, a trader at iG index, said: "There's a lot of fear creeping back. The decision not to extend Qe yesterday was akin to the uK having its lifesupport system temporarily switched off, so markets have to stand on their own two feet."

so far, they can't. The 250 index lost 225.50 points to 8998.34, the FTse All share tumbled 49.53 points to 2588.50 -- european markets were the same.

Amid the gloom, tales were thin on the ground.

but yesterday's big rumour -- that hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone is selling a 9% stake in sugar maker Tate & Lyle to finance a bid for satellite communications firm Inmarsat was gaining ground, at least among a select few. "definitely happening," said the man who claimed to know.

The wider market still isn't sure -- inmarsat fell 6p to 707.5p, while Tate & lyle lost 3.1p to 407.3p.

some were beginning to wonder which stock will replace Cadbury in the FTse 100 -- the confectioner will be delisted on March 8 once the Kraft takeover is finalised.

The top candidate is chipmaker Arm Holdings, today off 5p at 200p. …

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