Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Footsie Welcomes Old Guard Back - for Now

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Footsie Welcomes Old Guard Back - for Now

Article excerpt

Byline: TREVOR WEBSTER

STAND BY for another charge of the Old Brigade when membership of the Footsie index comes up for review tomorrow. Two golden oldies, Scottish & Newcastle and Whitbread, plus Enterprise Oil and healthcare group Smith & Nephew, are hammering on the door of the elite club of the top 100 companies.

Again, it is hi-tech, telecoms, media, computer and electronics businesses that look set for another bashing as Autonomy, Capita and Electrocomponents are leading candidates for relegation.

It looked, a year ago, as if the Footsie was becoming a hi-tech index. It still has a tech flavour that previous generations of investors would not recognise, but nothing like as strong as it might have been.

The past year's musical chairs in the Footsie have been the most dramatic ever and dominated by movements in the tech sector, whose dominant role in the index started in the first quarterly review of the year last March, which followed a dramatic explosion in the price of hi-tech stocks the previous winter. It brought the biggest ever shake-up in the Footsie, with 10 new-economy firms including Freeserve, Baltimore Technology, Kingston Communications, Celltech, Psion and Thus, muscling their way in at the expense of many famous names from the golden age of British industry, such as Hanson, Associated British Foods, Scottish & Newcastle and Whitbread.

Techs suffered their first shakeout that spring and the June review saw many of the newcomers nudged out by resurgent blue-chips. Hanson, Associated British Foods and Scottish & Newcastle were reinstated, elbowing out four of the upstarts - Thus, Kingston, Baltimore and Psion - although Bookham Technology came in at the same time to maintain the techs' weighting.

Last September, there was another shift against traditional blue-chips, which took out Hanson, Associated British Foods, Scottish & Newcastle, Rolls-Royce and Corus, replaced by Dimension Data, Spirent, Granada Media, Electrocomponents and Baltimore. …

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