Footsie slides in downbeat early trading

Thursday, March 01, 2001
Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland are on the rise as the market gives the thumbs up to its £4 billion plus profits, enhanced by last year's buy of NatWest.

The banking group's share price has jumped by 3% or 41p to £15.61 in early trading on the London Stock Exchange after it announced that profits had risen by 31% over the year.

However, the rise came in an overall downbeat session on the market, with the Footsie index of 100 leading stocks sliding by 45.8 points. After an hour of trading, the index stands at 5872.1.

Remarks by US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan saw hopes of an immediate interest rate cut on the other side of the Atlantic recede, and both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the technology-dominated Nasdaq lost ground.

Falls in Far Eastern markets overnight are also doing little to help sentiment in London.

Technology and telecoms stocks are proving the dragt on the market, with chip designer Arm falling 6% or 19p to 291p; software group Misys dipping 21½p to 579p; and its rival Autonomy down 49p at £13.51.

Among the telecoms, Telewest Communications is 4% lighter, off 5p at 127p; Colt Telecom has fallen 36p at £12.07; and Vodafone is down 2p to 185¾p.

FTSE-250 company Psion is also suffering, with shares in the hand-held computer group diving by 13% after it reported a slip in profits and shed 100 jobs.

And 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.