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TMCNet:  London Evening Standard, market report column

[January 24, 2013]

London Evening Standard, market report column

Jan 24, 2013 (London Evening Standard - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- The old saying that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold rang true for UK tech stocks today after growth fears emerged at Apple.

The computer giant reported disappointing iPhone sales which took 10 percent off its share price in after-hours trading last night leaving the UK's Apple suppliers ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies looking sickly today.

The seemingly invincible business scared investors with a weak first-quarter update and concern spread that it cannot retain its growth and profitability. The reduced popularity of its iPhone products as well as growing competition from cheaper Asian rivals are hitting the world's biggest company hard.

Cambridge-based ARM designs the chips which power the iPhone and iPad and had been the UK's tech darling -- shares have soared more than 870 percent since 2008. But they were infected by Apple's ailment and lost 7.5p to 842p today. On the mid-tier index, Sir Hossein Yassaie's Imagination was left sniffling as investors feared the business, which designs the graphic-processor units behind the iPhone screens, will be hit by decrease in demand. Imagination's shares slid 12p to 452p.

Cambridge-based wireless technology expert CSR, however, shrugged off any contagion -- it supplies a wide variety of wireless technologies for smartphones and other uses -- and shares rose 1.2p to 363.5p. Citi analysts think investors should keep "risks in focus" and "with share loss projected to persist" they "expect Apple will produce an iPhone geared to the low-end of the market" by September.

Traders were unwilling to let Apple's malaise dent their fortitude and the FTSE 100 was up 20.5 points to 6217.69 -- breaching the 6200 mark for the first time in four-and-a-half years as investors decided to trust signs of global recovery in the shape of recent Chinese data and a decent German economic update.

The worst performer on the mid-cap index was interdealer broker Icap after the Financial Times reported that it is being investigated for Libor fixing. The shares dropped 17p to 310.2p but analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch played down the impact of the investigation on the group.

The new boss at defence contractor Chemring presided over results that revealed a 42 percent slump in full-year profit -- better than the loss which had been expected. Mark Papworth's plans for a turnaround strategy also cheered and shares shot up 11.47p to 293.98p.

Oil explorer Range Resources produced a positive update from drilling in Trinidad and shares rose 0.22p to 3.45p. Gold Oil raised more than pounds sterling 2 million by placing of 278 million shares at 0.75p and its shares, returning to the market after a suspension, traded at 1.45p.

___ (c)2013 London Evening Standard Visit the London Evening Standard at www.standard.co.uk Distributed by MCT Information Services

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