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Spain saps confidence and market falls.

Byline: Steven Keppie

THE UK stock market opened the week in negative territory on Monday. The FTSE 100 Index ended the session 39.3 points lower at 5737.8.

Market sentiment turned negative as economic data released showed that Spain's economy contracted in the first quarter. This was the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, which meant that the euro zone's fourth largest economy is officially in recession. There were also widespread credit downgrades for Spanish banks on Monday, which follows on from the downgrade of Spain's debt rating by credit rating agency Standard & Poor's last week.

As a result the pound hit a 22-month high against the euro yesterday as fears grew about the strength of Spain's economy. A pound bought 1.23 euros as the UK was seen as a safe haven. Nine Spanish banks had their credit ratings downgraded.

Aberdeen Asset Management was among the better performing stocks in the FTSE 100, with a rise of 3.5%. The fund manager published half year results which showed pre-tax profits had risen by 14%. The group also saw assets under management improve by 9%, with high demand for its global emerging market equity product. The shares closed9.5p higher at 283.5p. The share price of Man Group continued its recent volatility as the shares dropped 3.3%. The company has had a torrid time of late, as concerns over the performance of its flagship fund have led to a stream of broker downgrades. The share price has fallen over 20% since the beginning of April. With apprehension over first quarter figures released today, the shares closed on Monday down 3.5p at 103.5p. It was a quiet day for news in The Journal's North Index.

Northgate was the biggest faller, losing 2.4% to close at 199.5p. The top performing share was Immunodiagnostic Systems, with a rise of 5.2% to close at 303.25.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:May 1, 2012
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