LONDON -- European indexes have been holding steady this week, despite Spanish debt fears. But after news that the country's 10-year bond yields have breached 7% for the first time, with Moody's downgrading them to just one step above "junk," things turned bearish again.
The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) resumed its decline, losing 45 points in early trading for a fall of almost 1% to 5,440. Spain's already battered IBEX 35 fell just a modest 16 points to 6,599, a drop of barely 0.2%, though masses of Spanish bad news are already factored into it. But the German DAX lost 0.7% to 6,102, and France's CAC 40 slipped by1% to 3,002.
Blue chips slide
The FTSE 100's slide today was headed by British Sky Broadcasting Group (LSE: BSY.L ) , which fell 54 pence to 642 pence, and BT Group (NYSE: BT ) with a drop of 6.2 pence to 203 pence -- falls of 8% and 3%, respectively. The reason? Both acquired rights to show Premier League football, and the total 3 billion pound price tag was bigger than expected.
Miners suffered again as the expected slowing of demand continues to bite. Xstrata (LSE: XTA.L ) lost 3.5% in early trading, down 33 pence to 887 pence, Antofagasta fell 2.5% to 1,043 pence, Anglo American saw a 2.5% drop of to 2,078 pence, BHP Billiton fell 40 pence to 1,750 pence, and Rio Tinto lost 59 pence to 2,812 pence.
Fund manager Man Group entered the ranks of the losers again, dropping another 2%. After the morning's 1.7 pence fall, the shares are now down to 70 pence, the lowest they've been this year.
We had a couple of big falls after company announcements today.
Computacenter lost 15% after it warned that significant new investment, needed for the pursuit of new business, is going to affect profits -- the shares fell 54 pence to 303 pence. But there was a bigger faller in Mulberry Group, the 1.2 billion pound AIM-listed fashion retailer, which saw 453 pence lopped off its share price, sending it down 23% to 1560 pence, despite results coming very close to expectations. But with a company on a price-to-earnings ratio of 40 (now 36), anything short of massive outperformance is all it takes.
An "as expected" interim update from WH Smith boosted the shares 2.5% to 484 pence, and strong results from WS Atkins gave its shares a 3% boost to 698 pence. Meanwhile, Falkland Islands Holdings, which has interests in a number of explorers in the area, announced a new subscription offer that lowered the price by 3.5% to 345 pence.
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