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City news.

The FTSE 100 Index continued to retreat from its recent high today as a string of blue-chip stocks went ex-dividend.

Heavyweights stocks from Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland to Anglo American and British American Tobacco paid their dividends to shareholders.

It sent the Footsie down in early trading as it continued to give up gains made earlier in the week which saw it touch the 5900 mark.

Lloyds TSB topped the blue-chip fallers board with losses of more than 4pc or 23.25p to 520p after going ex-dividend - meaning new shareholders are no longer entitled to the payment.

Fellow banks Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered lost 61p to 1844p and 22p to 1427p respectively.

Anglo American slid 72p to 1978p, while British American Tobacco shed 23p to 1419p.

Losses by ex-dividend stocks offset gains by ITV - up 2pc or 2.5p to 113.25p - after the broadcaster posted a 42pc rise in profits to pounds 460m despite a decline in advertising revenues at its flagship ITV1 channel.

Elsewhere, Provident Financial gained 10pc or 58p to 665p after it outlined plans to split off its international business for a separate listing on the stock exchange.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 8, 2006
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