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Mixed fortunes for North firms; Stocks and shares.

Byline: Anna McKechnie

THE London markets traded sideways throughout the day, with the FTSE 100 Index ending the session down 3.5 points.

The ambiguity in the markets was partially due to the Bank of England's attempt to relieve the credit crunch with a pounds 50bn injection into the banking sector.

Despite the news, the banks were once again among the day's worst performers, with Royal Bank of Scotland losing 11.5p to close on 372.5p, after confirming it was mulling over a rights issue. In the regional portfolio, house builders Barratt Developments and Bellway saw their shares slide, losing 5.5p and 23p respectively.

The house building sector on the whole was down, though fellow builder Persimmon was one of only a handful to end in positive territory, following a broker upgrade to a "buy" recommendation.

GlaxoSmithKline, which is due to release its first quarter results later in the week, spent the day on the FTSE risers' board, with shares in the company closing 12p higher at 1098p. City broker, Credit Suisse, lifted its price target for the stock after increasing its forecasts by 4% to account for foreign exchange movements, with emphasis on the strength of the euro versus the pound.

Shares in Sunderland-based bus and rail operator, Arriva, were down after being downgraded by UBS ahead of its trading update on Wednesday. The broker reduced its price target for the company, anticipating lower rail revenue growth together with lower UK bus profits and higher fuel costs. UBS did however imply that trading would be in line with management expectations.


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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2008
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