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Tuesday, 5 December, 2000, 22:05 GMT
Blue chip index sheds tech stocks
FTSE 100 trigger page (detail)
Companies jostle for a place on the "trigger page" of the City's top shares
London's key stockmarket index, the FTSE 100, is set to shed four high-flying technology firms and a recently formed cruise company, in favour of old economy stalwarts.

The ins and outs will be decided formally on Wednesday afternoon, during a meeting of the FTSE committee. However, its decisions will be shaped by each company's stockmarket value, or market capitalisation.

City analysts say that five firms are set for demotion to the FTSE 250 of medium-sized firms:

  • Optical component maker Bookham Technology,
  • Anglo-French software firm Sema,
  • computer security firm Baltimore technologies,
  • publisher Emap, and
  • recently formed cruise ship firm P&O Princess Cruises.

Tuesday's rally of technology shares came too late to save the bacon for these companies.

The will now be doubly punished as stock index tracker funds are set to dump their shares, potentially driving down prices and their market value even further.

Old economy winners

The winners were solid if stolid "old economy" firms - with one notable exception - data search firm Autonomy, which only recently listed its shares on the London Stock Exchange and now has made it straight into the Top 100.

The other FTSE 100 newcomers were firms returning to their old stomping grounds, with aerospace firm Smiths Industries, Associated British Foods, engine maker Rolls-Royce and supermarket chain Safeway making a comeback.

Investor attention

Joining the ranks of the FTSE 100 is more than just a nice line in a company's annual report.

It automatically brings greater investor attention, and buy-orders from funds tracking key indices like the FTSE 100.

Large buy-orders tend to drive up the share price, which in turn persuades many investors to piggy-back on the anticipated gains, exaggerating any potential upward momentum.

The past year has been a wild one for the FTSE 100. Wild gyrations on the stock markets, and especially the rise and fall of technology firms, saw 29 new companies entering the exclusive ranks of UK plc.

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See also:

15 Nov 00 | Business
Autonomy earnings beat forecasts
24 Nov 00 | Business
Software giant slumps on warning
19 Oct 00 | Business
Freeserve ejected from FTSE 100
01 Sep 00 | Business
Start-ups threaten corporate giants
23 May 00 | Business
Tech stocks set to exit FTSE
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