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FTSE sharply lower in midday trade as EU leaders deliberate

By BFN News | 12:28 PM | Wednesday 23 May, 2012

MIDDAY REPORT: Headline shares were sharply lower in midday trade on investor concerns over the Eurozone as the EU summit gets under way, with the heavyweight miners providing concerted downward pressure. At midday, the FTSE100 was down 97.41 points at 5,305.87 with the FTSE250 142.3 points lower at 10,437.2 and the FTSE Smallcaps 21.59 points lower at 2,915.58. NEW YORK US stock futures suggest a negative start as investors fret over today's EU summit. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 73 points at 12,404, S&P500 futures fell 9 points at 1,305 and Nasdaq 100 futures reversed 12 points at 2,523. LONDON MARKETS Shares in most sectors were marked down in London today, with the continuing crisis in the Eurozone ahead of the European summit a major factor. Another was yesterday's downbeat assessment of the UK economy from the International Monetary Fund. Miners fell away sharply as metals prices melted, with Vedanta Resources the worst of them, falling 59p (5.6%) at 988p. Elsewhere, Rio Tinto was 226p lower at 2,810.5p and Antofagasta lost 42.5p at 1,033.5p. Oil producers retreated as WTI crude eased to $91 a barrel, with BP slipping 7.12p at 394.83p and Royal Dutch Shell off 28p at 2,058.5p. The leading banks reversed, with Barclays the runt of the litter, down 6.72p at 182.18p. Lloyds Banking Group was 0.835p lower at 26.78p and Royal Bank of Scotland was down 0.7p at 21.25p. Aviva led the insurers lower, off 10.8p at 267.4p, whilst hedge fund manager again picked up the wooden spoon, sliding 4.5p at 73.15p. Luxury clothes retailer, Burberry Group, which announced a jump in revenues and profits and a 25% increase in the dividend, fell 35p at 1,351p on concerns over future growth. Meanwhile, supermarket operator Morrisons starred amongst the retailers with a gain of 0.95p at 263.95p. Peers Tesco and Sainsbury fared less well, losing 3.77p at 306.03p and 2.2p at 292.6p. The best blue chip performer at midday was prosthetics maker Smith & Nephew, up 10p at 602p on revived bid rumours. Satellite broadcaster BSkyB was up 3.25p at 693.75p after effective clearance of its pay TV offering by the Competition Commission. In the midcaps, one of the main gainers was transport operator FirstGroup which was up 6.3p at 211.2p after announcing strong annual figures. At the other end of the spectrum, London Stock Exchange was marked down 67.5p at 953.5p. Story provided by