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Footsie falls despite strong early trading.

The London market struggled to build on its early gains yesterday although investors welcomed bright maiden results from credit checking firm Experian.

The company, which used to be part of Argos group GUS, was one of the top blue-chip risers, as the Footsie seemed unable to find its feet for the third session in a row.

The FTSE 100 Index finished down 1.9 points at 6202.6 despite spending most of the day in positive territory.

Experian was ahead 19.5p at 619.5p after posting higher half-year profits and strong organic growth across its regions. The company has previously been seen as a strong takeover target for US buy-out firms.

Home Retail - Experian's former partner at GUS - fared less well as its own figures contained cautious comments about consumer spending. Shares in the company, which also owns Homebase, were down 2p to 424p following a positive start.

B&Q owner Kingfisher was also affected ahead of a trading update later this month - causing its shares to fall 4.25p to 262.5p.

ITV was trading down at 2.5p at 112p, as the firm rejected a merger proposal from cable company NTL just days after BSkyB took a 17.9% stake in the broadcaster.

It said there was 'little, if any, strategic logic for ITV to combine with NTL' in a deal which could have been worth around pounds 4.68bn. Shares in BSkyB climbed 2p to 535p as the threat of NTL forming a rival operator seemed to be ebbing away for the time being.

It was a mixed day for the miners following Monday's strong run sparked by talk of consolidation in the sector. Antofagasta found itself on the slide by 3.5p to 473p, while BHP Billiton lost out to the tune of 6p at 966p. But there was upside for some mining stocks with Xstrata cheering 33p at 2228p and Lonmin increasing 100p to 3080p.

The day's biggest blue-chip risers were Scottish & Southern up 54p at 1500p, Lonmin up 100p at 3080p, Experian up 19.5p at 619.5p and International Power up 11.25p at 364.75p.

The day's biggest blue-chip fallers were ITV down 2.5p at 112p, ICAP down 8.5p at 478p, Kingfisher down 4.25p at 262.5p and Shire down 15.5p at 1043p.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2006
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