Telecoms give FTSE a rough ride


Telecoms shares were in general lower yesterday (Weds), giving a bad start for the FTSE 100 Index which was 44.

3 points lower at 5335.3 after an hour's trading.

Troubled telecoms equipment group Marconi suffered another tough session on the London market as shares slumped 8 per cent to a new low.

Sentiment was hit by falls on the NASDAQ on Tuesday night, while the Dow Jones lost most of its early gains by the end of the session.

In London, Colt Telecom slumped 4 per cent, off 9p at 204p, Telewest Communications fell 1p to 52p, Spirent was off 4p at 1311/4p, Vodafone slipped 3p at 140p and Energis was down 4p at 81p.

BT, which said its soon-to-be-demerged mobile phone division, mmO2, would take on 500 million of its debt, was down 11p at 407p.

Computer services group CMG was also lower, off 9p at 255p, while software group Sage fell 4p to 208p and chip designer ARM dipped 10p to 274p.

Away from the techs, Dixons slid 11p to 208p after saying like-for-like sales for the 18 weeks to September 1 slipped 1 per cent, after mobile phones and desktop PC sales were weaker.