Market Reports: Seasonal cheer is quickly forgotten; MARKET REPORTS.
Wall Street fell sharply overnight as corporate earnings warnings and the possible impeachment of President Clinton worried dealers.
The mood in New York was less bearish when the market opened again yesterday, but the Dow Jones index was down 18 points when London closed.
Japan and Hong Kong also fell, creating a combination of gloomy indicators.
The FTSE-100 Index of leading shares plunged 144.8 points by lunchtime. A modest recovery pulled the index back, but the FTSE closed down 118.6 at 5541.7.
One of the few blue chip companies to post gains was Cadbury Schweppes, which fizzed 54p to 989p after announcing the pounds 1.12 billion sale of its non-US soft drinks brands to Coca-Cola. Talks are being held with bidders for further sell-offs worth ar ound pounds 500 million.
Stocks with close links to Asia felt the brunt of the Far East market falls. HSBC shed 36p to pounds 15.57, and Standard Chartered dipped 30p to 626p.
The Far East falls also hit Cable & Wireless which ditched 28p to 697p.
Other telecoms shares also suffered. Vodafone fell 21p to 882p, BT fell 12p to 848p and Colt Telecom ditched 50p to 875p.
Printing company Fulmar said trading conditions were tough, particularly in its financial printing business. Shares plunged 25p to 57p, a dive of 31 per cent.
Shares in Portmeirion Potteries also crashed 15p to 145p after the company issued a severe profit warning.
The dive followed yesterday's job cuts at Royal Doulton. The worst was over for Doulton however with shares unchanged at 73p.
Garden hoses maker Hozelock spurted ahead 51p to 293p, a 21 per cent gain, after the company said it had been approached about a possible management buy-out.