Falls in US have knock-on effect on Footsie

Thursday, March 01, 2001
The Footsie index of 100 leading stocks has been subdued by falls in US markets overnight, sliding by 35.2 points by mid-morning.

The index stands at 5882.7 after US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan dented hopes of an immediate interest rate cut, and both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the technology-dominated Nasdaq lost ground.

Falls in Far Eastern markets overnight have also done little to help sentiment on the London Stock Exchange, although shares in Royal Bank of Scotland are up 6% or 90p to £16.10 as the City gives the thumbs-up to profits of more than £4 billion.

The group has reported profits up 31% over the year, boosted by its £21 billion takeover of NatWest, and says it is ahead of targets for achieving cost savings and revenue benefits from the deal.

Technology and telecoms stocks are proving a drag on the market, with software group Misys falling 6% or 33½p to 567p; chip designer Arm down 6p at 316p; and Autonomy, another software group, off 35p at £13.95.

Among the telecoms, Telewest Communications is 4% lighter, off 5p at 127p; while Colt Telecom has fallen 38p at £12.05; Vodafone is off 4½p to 183¼p; and BT is down 15p at 555p.

Hand-held computer group Psion, which is listed on the FTSE-250 index, has dived 16% or 24½p to 129½p after reporting a slip in profits and announcing that it is shedding 100 jobs.

Technology investment firm Durlacher has seen its shares dive by 11% or 1¾p to 14p after showing a loss for the last six months following the fall in share prices in technology and telecoms stocks.

However, it is not all bad news. Among the risers is aerospace and defence firm BAE Systems, up 5% as investors cheer its full-year results.

Alongside Royal Bank of Scotland's jump, banking shares are also doing well, with Barclays up 32p at £21.35; Lloyds TSB 5½p ahead at 661½p; and Abbey National rising 28p to £11.95.