Marks & Spencer led a dismal session for retail stocks as investors began to fret over the scale of festive discounting.The high street stalwart fell more than 2 per cent, down 10.8p at 441.5p, as UBS cut its rating on the stock to "neutral" with a lowered target price and voiced concern over recent promotional activity.The retail turbulence came during a nervy session for the wider market as the FTSE 100 Index edged just 5.89 points higher to 6,492.08 ahead of last night's decision by the US Federal Reserve to pare back America's vast economic stimulus drive.The flow of positive economic data helped steady traders' hands. Brenda Kelly , senior market strategist at IG, said: "News that UK unemployment had ticked down to 7.4 per cent, along with a fairly upbeat German business climate index, ensured that the recent upside gains were mostly retained." Centrica was among the risers after it offered a pre-Christmas gift to shareholders following the sale of its Texas gas-fired power stations to private equity firm Blackstone for GBP420 million . Shares rose 5.6p to 328.7p as the Scottish Gas owner said it will return the proceeds to investors through an extension of its share repurchase programme.But supermarkets suffer a second day of losses after the latest Kantar Worldpanel market figures showed that half of UK households shopped at discounters Aldi and Lidl in the last 12 weeks. The increased competition threat triggered a fall of 13.5p to 365.1p for Sainsbury's, while Tesco was 5.4p lower at 319p and Morrisons dropped 3.5p to 253.2p.NEW YORK: The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at all-time highs last night after the Fed announced a small reduction in its stimulus programme, confirming that the US economy was on firm footing.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 293.03 points or 1.85 per cent, to end the day at 16,168.29, a record closing high, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 29.65 points or 1.66 per cent, finishing at 1,810.65, also a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite added 46.384 points or 1.15 per cent, to close at 4,070.064.
Most Popular Stories
- Crimean Referendum Violates International Law: Obama
- Florida Insurers Reach Out to Hispanics
- Where Are the World's Most Expensive Cities?
- BP Tripled CEO's Pay Despite Deepwater Horizon
- House OKs $1 Billion for Ukraine
- EU Breaks Off Talks With Russia
- Putin Gets Thumbs-up From Assad
- Nakamoto 'No Longer Involved' in Bitcoin
- 2 Million Long-term Jobless Have No Benefits
- Cuba Accepts Invite for Talks With EU