Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ex-Divi Brigade Takes a Chunk out of Footsie

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ex-Divi Brigade Takes a Chunk out of Footsie

Article excerpt


SHARE prices in London were on the slide today, weighed down by a long list of companies going ex-dividend. These included Abbey National, down 211/2p at 9891/2p, and HSBC, which lost 231/2p at 819p.

Dealers said it was the equivalent to a 13-point drop in the FTSE 100 index, which fell 29-points to 5287.1. This was despite a positive performance on Wall Street overnight that saw the Dow climb to its highest for nine months after the US Federal Reserve chose to peg interest rates.

Shares in Xstrata, the biggest flotation seen by the City this year, began trading on a when-issued basis in London and Zurich today.

The company specialises in minerals, energy and forestry, and the shares started trading at 955p following a placing by a clutch of brokers, including JP Morg a n , Cazenove and Deutsche, at 870p. After briefly dipping to 950p, they raced up to 975p before settling at 9541/2p, a premium of 841/2p. More than 36 million shares changed hands.

The brokers took great care over the issue of the shares, steering them towards safe hands in the shape of reliable institutions rather than the controversial hedge funds, which usually borrow money to buy the shares and then like to dump them after making a profit.

Mining giant BHP Billiton rose 31/4p to 410p after broker HSBC Securities raised its recommendation on the shares from reduce to add.

Total market turnover was boosted by the placing of 172.5 million shares, worth almost [pound]26 million, in telecoms group Thus, up 11/4p at 181/4p. The shares were the balance held by former parent company Scottish Power, ahead 43/4p at 3671/2p, following the demerger of Thus in 1999.

Lloyds TSB marked time at 740p after the bank played down renewed reports in Germany that it was in merger talks with Continental rival Deutsche Bank. …

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