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FTSE drops despite strong performance from Primark owner

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Some of the UK’s housebuilders teamed up with a troubled Darktrace to push London’s top index into the red on Tuesday.

Persimmon reached into the top five worst performers, while Darktrace gave back gains that it had made on Monday, dropping 6%.

“Darktrace was back in the virtual doghouse despite yesterday’s rally, bargain hunters perhaps waiting to see how low the price might actually go,” said AJ Bell analyst Danni Hewson.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “At the bottom of the FTSE100, housebuilders have underperformed, with Persimmon shares slipping back despite posting a decent set of numbers for the third quarter, and stating reservation rates were well ahead of 2019 levels.”

By the end of the day the index had lost 0.4% of its value, dropping 26.36 points to 7,274.04.

The strong falls were enough to counteract an extraordinary performance from Primark’s owner AB Foods.

The business reported a strong showing in its most recent set of annual results, and topped the FTSE 100 with an 8% rise.

It was followed by Rolls-Royce which announced it had secured £450 million for a small nuclear reactor project.

“It’s been years since I first heard plans for mini nuclear reactors discussed around a dinner table full of energy sector suits but today Rolls Royce announced a big step forward, one that made markets sit up and pay attention,” Ms Hewson said.

“The plans certainly have their critics but as we all take a long hard look at our energy use and our bills this winter there will be many who feel nuclear does have a major part to play in the UK’s future.”

In Germany and in France the Dax and the Cac indexes dropped slightly, by less than 0.1% each.

Across the pond things looked worse, with the S&P 500 down 0.6% and the Dow Jones having lost 0.7% shortly after UK markets closed.

Sterling was practically flat, with one pound buying 1.3553 dollars or 1.1694 euros.

The cost of Brent crude oil rose 0.4% to 83.77 US dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were AB Foods, up 148.5p to 2,007p, Rolls-Royce, up 5.1p to 146.86p, BT, up 4.2p to 162.65p, Ocado, up 40p to 1,741.5p, and Pearson, up 12.2p to 612.8p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Darktrace, down 40p to 610p, United Utilities, down 244p to 6,042p, Smiths Group, down 39p to 1,403.5p, Persimmon, down 71p to 2,650p, and Abrdn, down 6p to 257.5p.

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