Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marconi Big Victim of Telecoms Sell-Off

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Marconi Big Victim of Telecoms Sell-Off

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

SHARES of telecoms equipment supplier Marconi slumped to a near two-year low today, falling 22 1/2p to 476p. Brokers say the deterioration in the group's fortunes reflects the poor results from US telecoms manufacturers, lower spending by network operators, rising debt levels and the sell-off by investors of the telecoms sector in general.

Marconi was trading at a best-ever 1250p in September but has dropped like a stone ever since. US securities house Goldman Sachs put the boot in last week by reducing its target price for the shares to 430p.

Elsewhere in the telecoms sector, Voda-fone retreated 5 1/4p to 187p after confirming plans to sell 113.85 million shares in France T"l"com back to the French company. The sale raised [pound]7.4 billion for Voda-fone. British Telecom came under fresh selling pressure, falling 20 1/2p to 578p.

Share prices in general fared little better.

Another big fall overnight on the hi-tech Nasdaq market and a lacklustre performance by the Dow in New York dictated the start of trading in London today. The FTSE 100 index fell 21.1 points to 5920.1, wiping out most of yesterday's gains.

Brokers said the falls could have been bigger but the market was supported by some upbeat trading statements from a clutch of blue-chip companies.

Many punters appear to be pinning their hopes for a revival in the market's fortunes on an early cut in US interest rates coinciding with Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's speech tonight.

But Jeremy Batstone, head of research at NatWest Stockbrokers, reckons that is like trying to walk a high wire stretching from the Federal Reserve building to Shangri-La. …

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