Nervy start on London market


London shares made another nervy start yesterday (Weds) as the FTSE 100 Index fell back as trading opened.

After one hour, the blue-chip index was off 36.9 points at 4626.5 with oil and banking stocks once more suffering from the fragile mood in the City.

The falls came despite steady gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday night and forecasts of a slight climb from analysts in London.

Both BP and Shell continued their recent falls, with BP off a penny to 5081/2p and Shell down 7p to 4591/2p.

And high-street banks were again slipping as fears about the global economy continued to dominate investors' minds.

HSBC dropped 8p to 657p, Lloyds TSB was off 11p to 634p, Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 8p to 14.27 and HBoS fell 12p to 725p.

British Airways was also falling back into the red, slipping 3% or 51/2p to 169p while Airbus partner BAE Systems eased 11/4p to 3241/4p.

Another early faller was high-street chemist Boots after a disappointing trading update showing a slow second-quarter for the group.

Boots topped the fallers' board at one point, down 3% or 18p to 5901/2p.

In other corporate news, Lattice slipped 11/2p to 1531/4p after Ofgem's final price control proposals for its Transco gas pipeline division.

Lattice said Ofgem's move to cut the arm's revenues will leave a 1.9 billion funding shortfall and hinted at a possible Competition Commission reference.

Outside the FTSE 100, Bloomsbury Publishing, home of kid wizard Harry Potter, jumped 15p to 7071/2p.