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Friday Morning Market: down again

Fear is the dominant factor again as Tony Blair prepares to hold a 'war summit' with President Bush at Camp David and investors mull over the impact of a slowing US economy.

The FTSE 100 is down 52 points at 3,525, removing half of yesterday's gains, after the heavy fall on Wall Street last night saw the Dow Jones slump 166 points to 7,945.

Insurers were tumbling again after Moody's downgraded its rating for French insurance giant Axa and fears that Royal & SunAlliance , off 2.5p to 97.5p, could have its rating cut to 'junk' if the market falls much further.

Among the fallers were Aviva (AV.) down 12p to 377p, Legal & General (LGEN) off 2.25p to 75p, Prudential (PRU) 10.75p lower to 364.25p and Britannic (BRT) sliding 5.6p to 109.5p.

Other financials are also struggling with Amvescap (AVZ) down 15.75p to 330p, Schroders voting shares are down 18p at 440p, Lloyds TSB (LLOY) is down 11p at 374p and Abbey National (ANL) fell 10.5p to 392p.

Poor US media sentiment helped push down Reuters (RTR) by 6.25p to 172.25p.

Radio group Forever Broadcasting (FOB) gained 3p to 36.5p as it announced it was in talks with a potential bidder.

Capital Radio (CAP) was pushed down 10p to 385p after losing audience share to Radio 2.

War fears offset Ryanair's news that it is buying KLM's subsidiary Buzz Airlines for a net price of just £3.2 million, knocking the shares down 6.5p to 419.5p.

British Airways (BAY) lowered 5p to 111p.

Safeway (SFW) weakened 3.5p to 312.5p as William Morrison (MRW), down 2.5p to 167p, posted formal offer documentation to Safeway shareholders.

Negative broker comment pushed down housebuilders Persimmon by 17p to 401p, George Wimpey by 6.25p to 240p, Bellway by 8p to 452.5p, and Alfred McAlpine by 3p to 227.5p.

Alpha Airports (AAP) lifted 3p to 52p after it said that second half trading has been in-line with expectations.

Trafficmaster (TFC) climbed 0.5p to 11.5p after is said that it expects second half losses to be lower than the £4.9 million first-half total. The group intends to writedown assets in Germany, other European countries and Teletrac in the US.

Speedy Hire (SDY) climbed a penny to 251p on news that Kier group is extending its preferred supplier agreement with it for two years at an estimated value of £3 million per annum. Trading is still in-line with expectations and like-for-like hire turnover is up 7% for the first nine months of the year.

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