Market hits the doldrums


The FTSE-100 was in the doldrums yesterday (Wednesday) as sharp falls in telecoms and tech stocks pulled down the market.

Shares took their lead from a poor performance on US markets overnight, following remarks from Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan which lessened hopes of aggressive cuts in interest rates in America.

On this side of the Atlantic, the FTSE-100 Index was 62.2 points lower at 6266.3 after the first hour of trading.

Telecoms shares were weak, following the disappointing first day trading from Orange on its return to the market.

Yesterday, shares in the group, floated off by France Telecom, were 46p down at 557p. The stock began trading on Tuesday at 639p.

Other telecoms fallers included Vodafone, off 4p at 212p, BT 26p lower at 585p, Colt Telecom down 57p at 14.83 and telecom equipment firm Marconi off 15p at 600p.

Telecom equipment firm Bookham Technology also fell sharply, off 9%, or 71p lower at 718p, after reporting a widening in fourth quarter losses.

Other tech companies suffering included Cambridge chip designer ARM, off 29p at 425p, computer services group Dimension Data 16p lower at 475p and software group Sage down 8p at 325p.

  • Darling of the share clubs Xaar, the print technology company on Cambridge Science Park, reported record results today, with sales up 50 per cent and profits more than fivefold.

    Turnover reached 22.7 million, with pre-tax profit a record 2.7 million and basic earnings per share up tenfold to 4.1p.