Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Economy Blow Leaves Index in the Balance

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Economy Blow Leaves Index in the Balance

Article excerpt

Byline: JANE PADGHAM

HOPES that the stock market would avoid an unprecedented 10-day losing streak hung in the balance today as it emerged that Britain's economy posted its weakest performance for a decade last year.

In a volatile morning session which saw gains repeatedly wiped out and then rebuilt, the FTSE 100 index stabilised down 1.5 points at 3620.7. The Footsie last night closed at its lowest for seven years, clocking up nine consecutive days of losses, its longest losing run since it was launched in 1984.

"Virtually every day of these last nine days we've opened up and lost it by lunchtime or early afternoon. I wouldn't be betting on whether it's going to be up or down by the end of the day," said Graham Secker, equity strategist at Morgan Stanley.

The jitters were not helped by news that the economy expanded by just 1.7% in 2002, the weakest full-year growth since 1992 and well below the economy's 2.5% long-term trend rate of growth. …

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