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Loss for F&C as assets fall

F&amp;C ASSET Management said yesterday it swung to a pre-tax loss of &pound;11.3m in the first half of the year, after client withdrawals from its funds ballooned to &pound;3.3bn in the second quarter.<br /><br />The group held its interim dividend at 2p yesterday after reporting the loss, which compared to a &pound;3.4m gain in the same period in 2008.<br /><br />Chief executive Alain Grisay conceded the withdrawals were &ldquo;quite big&rdquo;. The firm added lower equity markets, currency movements and reduced income from cash balances due to high interest rates, also hit its results.<br /><br />F&amp;C said its total assets under management were now &pound;88.3bn, down 10.5 per cent over the six months to June.<br /><br />However, the group said the medium-term trading outlook had &ldquo;improved materially&rdquo;.<br /><br />Singer Capital Markets analyst Sarah Ing said the initial disappointment over the first-half results was counteracted by the positive outlook in comments to the market later on.<br /><br />Shares of the firm went on a rollercoaster yesterday as sentiment shifted, falling to a six per cent loss in earlier trading before rising to a 3.4 per cent gain before closing broadly flat at 72.5p.