London Report: FTSE ticks down as nine-month rally loses pace

THE UK’S main equity index dipped lower yesterday, with credit data group Experian slumping after its interim results, while traders said the market might stall in November after a strong run-up last month.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which rose four per cent in October to reach 5-month highs, closed down by 0.1 per cent, or 5.15 points, at 6,741.69 points. The index remains up by 14 per cent since the start of 2013.

A 6.4 per cent drop at Experian acted as one of the main drags on the index, after Experian posted profits slightly below some market forecasts and got downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

APS Alpha technical strategist Adrian Slack felt November would mark a “consolidation” phase for the FTSE 100, adding the FTSE could fall down to the 6,600 point level before then rallying back in December and through to the end of 2013.

JN Financial trader Rick Jones also expected the FTSE to make little headway in November before then recovering to rally into the end of 2013, by which time Jones felt the FTSE could hit the 6,900 point level.

“We’re still bullish in the medium to long term, but we’re just expecting a bit of a rest after such a strong run up,” said Jones.

Vodafone rose one per cent to add the most points to the FTSE 100 as analysts at brokerage Bernstein increased their price target on the telecoms group on the back of speculation of a possible merger with American peer AT&T.

Vodafone sold its stake in Verizon Wireless (VZW) to its joint venture partner Verizon Communications Inc for $130 billion in September, leaving it with a pan-European business spanning Britain to Romania and operations in the Middle East and Africa.

AT&T has had an eye on Europe since the beginning of the year and has considered options including Vodafone, bankers have previously told Reuters.

Corporate takeover activity has propped up global equities this year, and EGR Broking managing director Kyri Kangellaris felt the FTSE would still end the year on a strong note even if there was a pullback in November.

“There’s a bit more in the rally. It probably will grind up between now and the end of the year, towards 6,900 points,” he said.