Halifax reveals underperforming stock market in April

06 May 2005
The latest edition of Halifax's Stockwatch has revealed that the FTSE All-Share index fell in April, despite a promising performance in the first half of the month.

Shares rise in April more than 70 per cent of the time, but this year the month of showers saw a gloomy outlook for the FTSE, with the All-Share index falling by 2.5 per cent.

The total return of the FTSE 100 fell by 1.7 per cent according to Halifax, compared with an average rise of two per cent since 1986.

The FTSE 250 fared even worse, falling by 5.2 per cent, compared with an average rise of 2.3 per cent since 1986.

The best performing sector was pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, which registered an increase in total sector returns (TSR) of eight per cent, driven predominantly by corporate activity.

IT Hardware performed the worst, recording a TSR in April of -22 per cent, dragged down by news that shares in the telecoms equipment manufacturer Marconi dropped heavily when the company missed out on a lucrative contract with BT.

"The budget in March and the impact of the forthcoming general election had a positive effect early in April," commented John Bearman, head of UK equities at Halifax.

"This has, however, been tempered of late by growing concerns about the outlook for consumer spending."
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