FTSE 250 watch: Mid-cap index loses ground as looming Greek default dampens sentiment

on Apr 17, 2015

The FTSE 250 Index has lost ground today, amid a rout in European markets prompted in part by worries over a possible Greek default. The current stalemate in negotiations between Athens and its creditors has weighed on the UK’s benchmark equity index, the FTSE 100, which was down 0.95 percent as of 14:54 BST. As of the same time the mid-cap index was performing slightly better, having lost 0.75 percent to 17,596.96 points.

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The FTSE 250 has suffered today from weakness in shares of commodity firms such as mining companies KAZ Minerals Plc (LON:KAZ) and Vedanta Resources Plc (LON:VED), whose shares as of 15:09 BST had fallen 5.1 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively. However, the biggest faller in the mid-cap index has so far been Evraz Plc (LON:EVR), a Moscow-based steel manufacturer partly controlled by billionaire Roman Abramovich,with a 6.9 percent loss.
Earlier this week Evraz’s South African steel manufacturing business, Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium Ltd, announced that it planned to apply for the local equivalent of bankruptcy protection as a slump in demand for the metal left it with insufficient funds. Evraz acquired 25 percent in Highveld from Anglo American in 2006 and further increased its stake to 85 percent the following year. The Russian steel producer tried to sell the unit in 2013, but failed to find a buyer as metals prices plummeted.
There have been some notable risers in the FTSE 250 today, even though their gains haven’t been enough to offset losses. Among the companies with impressive performances today has been retailer Debenhams Plc (LON:DEB), which has continued to benefit from positive momentum following its upbeat first-half results yesterday. The retailer’s share price had gained 3.4 percent as of 15:42 BST.


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