London follows New York slide


Shares in London slid more than 90 points in early trading yesterday (Wednesday), taking their lead from dives in the US overnight.

American investors registered disappointment that US interest rates had been cut by only 0.50 per cent, rather than the 0.75 per cent hoped for by many market makers.

The cut -- to kick-start the slowing US economy -- was the third in as many months, however the US markets had been forecasting a more aggressive move and shares suffered a sell-off overnight as a result.

In Wall Street, shares plunged to their lowest levels for almost 2years, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 238 points, or 2.4 per cent, and the Nasdaq down 93 points, or 6 per cent.

And when the London markets opened for trading, the FTSE-100 Index fell 90.5 points in the first half-hour of dealing, although by 9am it was off a lesser 77.8 points at 5569.

Telecoms and tech shares were the main sufferers, with Vodafone off 6p at 201p, BT 22p lower at 500p, Colt Telecom down 55p at 810p and Cable & Wireless down 9p at 456p.

Among the telecom equipment firms, Energis slipped 19p to 302p and Marconi was off 19p to 370p.

Tech stocks on the slide included chip designer Arm, 14p lighter at 306p and software group CMG off 42p at 635p.

But some shares managed to buck the trend, including mining group Billiton, up 7p at 339p following a report in the Financial Times that said Alcan, the world's second-largest aluminium firm was considering making a counter bid for the group.