London Report: Banks and pharma drop knocks FTSE off nine-week high

WEAK results from Barclays and Aberdeen Asset Manage-ment yesterday knocked the FTSE 100 index from its nine-week high, while falls in pharmaceutical prices also took their toll on the market.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed down 23.86 points, or 0.35 per cent, at 6,798.56 points, after hitting 6,838.17 points on Friday, its highest level since late February.

Barclays shed 13.5p – a 5.2 per cent fall and the biggest drop of the day – after a collapse in investment bank revenue had hit first-quarter profit. An overhaul of the flagging business is due to be unveiled tomorrow.

Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management dropped 10.5p – 2.35 per cent – on a forecast-lagging 3 per cent fall in pretax profit after clients pulled money out of its core emerging market and Asian equity funds.

The pharmaceutical sector saw the second biggest fall after investors who had bet that Pfizer would step up its efforts to seal a takeover of Astra-zeneca were disappointed that it had not, traders said.