Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sell-Off Has Marconi near to Two-Year Low; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sell-Off Has Marconi near to Two-Year Low; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

SHARES of telecoms equipment supplier Marconi slumped to a near two-year low today, falling 161/2p to 482p. 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, Vodafone retreated 21/4p to 190p 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 Vodafone. British Telecom came under fresh selling pressure, falling 141/2p to 584p.

Share prices generally reversed earlier falls with the FTSE 100 index rising 41.9 to 5983.1 in thin trading conditions supported by some upbeat trading statements from a clutch of blue-chip companies. But the outlook for the market remains uncertain with investors worried by the move into recession by the US economy.

Many punters appear to be pinning their hopes of a revival in the market's fortunes on an early cut in US interest rates. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has hinted there will be further interest rate cuts to come, but not just yet. Some brokers say cheaper money may not be enough kick-start the American economy anyway.

Lattice was one of the biggest losers among the top 100 companies, falling 83/4p to 1291/2p. Powergen was 26p off at 644p.

Gas and electricity regulator Ofgem is proposing separate price controls for the National Transmission System and local distribution zones. …

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