MARKET WATCH

Renewed fallout from the Asian crisis sent stock markets around the world into freefall last week. In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped more than 200 points. By Tuesday it had recovered some ground, but the latest inflation figures showed a further rise in the underlying rate, adding to fears that interest rates might have […]

Renewed fallout from the Asian crisis sent stock markets around the world into freefall last week. In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped more than 200 points. By Tuesday it had recovered some ground, but the latest inflation figures showed a further rise in the underlying rate, adding to fears that interest rates might have to go up again.

Engineering stocks were mixed. Even before large falls on the market toward the end of last week, the sector was down 6.4% at 2963.89.

The FTSE 250 index, which includes many engineering stocks, was down 1.2% at 5861.2. However, it is showing a gain of more than 20% over the last six months.

Major exporters were mostly down this week, although Smiths Industries gained 5p to 817p, GKN climbed 6p to 788p and Rolls-Royce was up 6p at 261p by midday Tuesday.

Losers included Siebe, down 5p to 1215p and GEC, 5p weaker at 495p.

Engineering group FKI gained 5.5p to 192.5p.

And troubled Northern Ireland engineer Powerscreen soared to 121p, more than doubling its value in a week. The jump comes amid growing speculation that the group is susceptible to a take-over bid.

British Steel suffered a £500m hit from the strong pound. Despite warning of huge job cuts, it managed to reassure the market with better than expected profits of £315m for the year to the end of March. Its shares gained 4p to 138.5p.