Next’s bad weather forecast casts dark shadow on markets - London Report

BRITAIN’S top share index slid yesterday, with retailers falling after Next said it would have to lower its full-year profit forecast if the unusually warm weather contin­ued.

The FTSE 100 fell 23.88 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 6,622.72 points.

Britain’s Number. 2 clothing retailer’s warning sent its shares down 3.79 per cent to 6,605p while rival Marks & Spencer fell 2.60 per cent to 404.60p. Mid-cap Debenhams dropped 2.59 per cent to 58.30p

Housebuilders declined after Nat­ion­wide said UK house prices fell by 0.2 per cent in September, with Persim­mon down 0.67 per cent at 1,334p.

And chip maker Arm fell two per cent to 906p after analysts at Bernstein cut its rating from “market perform” to “underperform”.

On the positive side, Primark owner Associated British Foods topped the blue-chip leader board with a 4.5 per cent advance to 2,679p after Credit Suisse lifted its rating on the stock to “outperform” from “neutral”, highlighting that it was now the key to the group’s earnings.