London Report: Shares slip as FTSE waits for Scotland verdict

BRITAIN’S top share index yesterday slipped and under­performed gains on rival European bourses, as the un­certainty raised by Scotland’s vote on independence pegged back the UK stock market.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed down by 0.2 per cent, or 11.34 points, at 6,780.90 points.

Engineering conglomerate Smiths Group was the worst FTSE stock in percentage terms, falling six per cent to 1,268p, after it reported a steep drop in annual profits and said it was not planning to sell its medical unit.

Other big fallers were Unilever down 2.42 per cent at 2,619p, SABMiller down 2.29 per cent at 3,577p and Reckitt Benckiser down 1.91 per cent at 5,390p.

Technology shares were in demand, however, ahead of the appearance of the Apple iPhone 6 in the shops at the end of this week. Chip designer Arm, an Apple supplier, added 2.23 per cent to 940.5p. Smaller rival Imagination Technologies jumped 5.56 per cent to 199.50p after an upbeat trading statement.

Elsewhere housebuilders were also among the climbers, with Barratt Developments 3.08 per cent better at 392p and Persimmon up 1.5 per cent to 1,352p.

Among the mid-caps, JD Sports Fashion added 4.19 per cent to 425.10p, after it said it would report full year results at the top end of expectations, following a doubling of half year profits to £20m.

First half sales in the core sports business rose by 13 per cent, with the outdoor sports and camping retail chains, including Millets and Blacks, seeing sales up 12 per cent and breaking even.

Packaging group DS Smith rose 5.09 per cent to 286.90p after an upbeat trading statement and positive outlook for the rest of the year, and despite a shareholder revolt against its remuneration policy at its annual meeting.

But IG dipped 0.91 per cent to 598p after the online trading group said first quarter revenue had fallen nine per cent hit by lower client numbers amid quiet market trading conditions.

Exhibitions group UBM, down slightly by 0.08 per cent at 601.50p, was reported by Reuters on Tuesday to be close to buying trade events business Advanstar for $900m.