Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Profit-Takers Move in Following the 'Bounce'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Profit-Takers Move in Following the 'Bounce'

Article excerpt

Byline: MALCOLM WITHERS

PROFIT-TAKING dominated the market as dealers took advantage of Friday's 144-point rally that was increasingly looking as though it was no more than a huge dead-cat bounce.

Share prices were driven down by fears of more corporate disasters across the Atlantic as US drugs giant Merck revealed $14 billion (pound sterling9 billion) worth of false sales.

Wall Street responded by opening weaker.

Closer to home, on the other side of the Irish Sea, drinks and snacks company Cantrell & Cochrane pulled its e1.1 billion (pound sterling704 million) float to join Yell and the other initial public offering setbacks this year.

Ireland was also the source of an alleged pound sterling5 billion hole in British Energy accounts, strongly denied by the company, as it slipped 8p to 137p.

Pint- pullers in the drinks sector had little to raise their glasses to as Diageo's lacklustre trading statement knocked its shares 321/2p to 7751/2p.

Stock Exchange share trading may have increased by 5% last month to about 2.79 million trades against the previous June, but judging from the gloom etched on the faces of most traders today little of it appeared to come their way. Some despondency was due to prospects for blue-chip earnings ahead of the second-quarter results season that starts this week.

In the gloom, however, Numis managed to reiterate its buy note on London Stock Exchange shares, forecasting "continued profits growth". It was typical of the market that LSE shares slipped 3/4p to 4141/2p.

The FTSE 100 opened in negative territory and remained there with a fall of 44.7 points at 4570.9 reinforced by early 60-point falls in the Dow Jones.

All the other London indices were down by double points with market volume at a lowly 1.3 billion shares. …

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