Entertainment and tobacco losses add to cautious trading - London Report

BRITAIN’S top share index posted its lowest close in more than three weeks yesterday, as tobacco stocks slipped after a Canadian court ruling and Merlin Entertainments slumped following an accident at a theme park run by the company.

Shares in Merlin fell 3.5 per cent on news that four people were seriously hurt at one of Britain’s biggest theme parks, Alton Towers, run by the firm, when two carriages collided on a rollercoaster ride.

Merlin was the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 index, which fell 0.4 per cent to 6,928.27 points.

Tobacco shares slipped, as British American Tobacco (BAT) fell 2.4 per cent, after a Canadian court awarded more than $15bn Canadian dollars (£8bn) in damages to smokers in class-action cases. A BAT subsidiary was among three companies that said they would appeal.

Peer Imperial Tobacco slid 2.9 per cent.

Elsewhere, trading remained cautious. The FTSE 100 index is still up about five per cent this year, but has traded in a tight 350-point range since early February.