Business

London Market Report



Search company or market
Search company or market:
Refresh this page Launch Marketwatch ticker
London | Wall Street | Asia

(Close): Next dragged the market lower after it warned that the recent spell of warm weather had hit its sales.

Shares in Next closed down 3.8% as it added that if the mild weather continued until the end of October it might have to cut its full-year profit forecast.

The unexpected news hit shares in rivals, with M&S and Debenhams both closing 2.6% lower.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index closed down 23.88 points at 6,622.72.

"Next does not often lower guidance. So the fact that they have said they may do so due to the warmer weather is hitting the shares," said Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar.

Royal Bank of Scotland jumped 1.9% to 368.20p after the bank said that improving economic conditions meant it had cut the amount of money it has set aside for bad debts.

Other movers on the market included Primark owner Associated British Foods, which rose 4.5%, to 2,679p after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the stock to "outperform".

Saga shares rose 1.5% to 174.80p after its latest results. Pre-tax profits in the first half of the year fell 64% to £32.8m, mainly because of a £50.8m charge from its stock market flotation in May.

Despite the latest increase, the firm's shares are still well below their flotation price of 185p.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.14% against a rallying dollar to $1.6219, hitting a two-week low. But it jumped 0.32% against the euro to 1.2845 euros and remaining at a two-year high.

The dollar has been enjoying strong gains against most major currencies recently as the prospects for the US economy improve.

However, the euro has been suffering from the poor economic news emerging from the eurozone. Figures published on Tuesday show eurozone inflation slowed to 0.3% in September, well below the European Central Bank's target of just below 2%.