Market roundup: FTSE down as investors hold breath

With US financial data on the way, traders lay low

The FTSE 100 index of blue-chip shares sank 46.7 to 6045.7 as investors waited for possible changes in US inflation and interest rates. US GDP data, which affects interest rates, is expected Thursday, and traders Wednesday were holding their breath in anticipation.

Nevertheless some Internet shares had a good day. Internet service provider Energis was up 34 to 1,840p, while Cable & Wireless saw a 7.50 increase to 684.5p. Reuters Group shares got some relief after a recent downward trend, rising 20.50 to 538p.

Telecoms generally rose, but shares of Orange, Vodafone Airtouch and British Telecom were all down. Orange, which has been on the rise after a takeover bid by Germany's Mannesmann, was off 3 to end at 1,458p. Vodafone dropped 0.5 to 272p on concerns over a possible bid for self-same Mannesmann. British Telecommunications dropped 2.5 to 1,068.5p.

Psion shares sank amid profit-taking and confusion over the exact nature of the company's deal with the US' 3Com; the shares dipped 26 to 1,484p.

British Sky Broadcasting fell 10 to 634p amid reports the group is close to buying a minority stake in Premiere, KirchGruppe's digital pay-TV service, for about £300m.

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