M&S rises despite Christmas sales


Shares in high street giant Marks & Spencer emerged unscathed yesterday (Tuesday), despite a 5.

1 per cent fall in sales over the crucial Christmas trading period.

The disappointing trading statement had been anticipated by the City, although there was also relief the figures were not worse as M&S's price picked up 3 per cent, or by 6p, to 206p after the first hour.

That left M&S as the surprise leader of a subdued FTSE-100 risers board as the London Stock Exchange got off to a troubled start.

After the first hour, the FTSE-100 Index of leading blue-chip companies was down 44.1 points at 6187.9.

A clutch of techs and telecoms stocks were dragging the market lower, headed by software company Misys, off 31p at 629p, and chip designer Arm, down 22p at 527p.

Sentiment towards new economy stocks was not helped by a low-key session in the US overnight, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-dominated Nasdaq showing slight falls.

Telecoms were also dragged lower by disappointing figures from Deutsche Telekom, with BT down 17p at 680p, and Vodafone off 3p at 227p. Other fallers included Anglo-French computer services company Sema, which lost more than 8 per cent, or 34p, at 367p.