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FTSE falls 2% as risk aversion takes hold

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by Deborah Hyde on Jun 29, 2010 at 11:24

The FTSE 100 was more than 2% lower in mid-morning trade as European debt worries and worse than hoped for Japanese and Chinese data added to fears about the prospects for the global economy.

The main UK index was down 106 points, or 2.08%, at 4965 - having fallen as low as 4957.31 in early trade.

Mixed lending data from the Bank of England and a rise in the European economic sentiment index provided a brief respite but shares soon headed lower again as US futures suggest the DJIA is set to open 100 points lower.

Mortgage approvals ticked lower in May to 49,815 from 49,828 in April and there was another drop in lending to non-financial companies, according to the Bank of England.

Howard Archer, chief European & UK Economist at IHS Global Insight, said the fall in lending to businesses reflects low demand as well as a reluctance to lend.

'The Bank of England data do little to alleviate concerns that ongoing tight credit conditions remain a serious obstacle to significant, sustainable recovery,' he said.

The dollar was advancing as investor risk aversion took hold ahead of more European government bond auctions this week and amid rising fear of deflation across many Western economies.

Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index, said: 'Debt issues are clearly continuing to weigh on the market and until investors see austerity measures succeeding; debt is likely to play a strong hand in market behaviour for some time.'

The euro was 0.26% lower against the dollar at $1.2230. The pound was one cent, or 0.38% lower at $1.5038 having hit its highest level since September last year yesterday.

In another sign that investors are worried about the pace of economic growth and the policy tools still available to lenders, the yield on 10-year US government bonds dropped to its lowest level since the spring of 2009 at 2.9076%

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