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a personal view of the week's news from Erithacus
8th September 2001
Stock markets fell sharply this week, with the FTSE100 index in London finishing at 5070.3, 274.7 points lower than last week’s close of 5345 and at a three-year low. This year’s high for the FTSE100 was 6370
A combination of factors led to the falls, with the announcement from Marconi of massive losses and the departure of their CEO and Chairman hitting sentiment probably as much as any other factors. Reports that the worst of Marconi’s falls were purely because of massive short-selling by a few fund managers did nothing to restore confidence, but there were signs on Friday that for Marconi at least the falls were easing as the shorters were obliged to buy and cover their positions.
Along with Marconi, telecoms companies dropped seriously. Two of the others worst hit were BT and Telewest.
The situation was not improved by the Bank of England’s decision to leave interest rates on hold; results from mining giant Anglo American disappointed the City; manufacturing figures showed output 3% down over the year; job losses announced at British Airways startled many – coming just a week after reports that airlines were unlikely to announce any redundancies despite falling revenues.
A few shares managed to scrape an increase with GKN rising 4.5 on the week to 313, Canary Wharf up 1.5, Centrica up 2.25, Diageo up 9 to 704, but these and a few others were very much the exceptions in a week when all sectors saw a weakening of confidence and most suffered massive selling.
One of the few brighter reports of the week was that consumer spending
still shows no sign of faltering. Some analysts, however, point to this as a
danger signal of a much deeper crash to come when consumer confidence also
Another of Saturday’s newspapers rehashes the week’s earlier story of
asylum seekers in Britain, and struggles on its inside pages to come up with
anything much better than what Kenneth Clarke or Iain Duncan Smith believe;
tennis courts for asylum seekers; Tescos being fined for leaving 215 trolleys
in a river; a girl who was made to eat a pepper sandwich.
As if this were not enough, the report also says that tall passengers would be unable to bend forward far enough to adopt the "brace" safety position in an emergency. This, they say, is a major safety issue.
Interesting. I wonder. Did anyone else see the report a few years ago that
said it makes no difference whatsoever what position you adopt in an aircraft
crash provided you stay in your seat with the seatbelt on? And, so that
particular report continued, the only reason you are told to adopt the
"brace" position is to protect your teeth so that you can be
identified later from dental records?
8th September 2001
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