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Japan disaster fails to throw FTSE

A six per cent fall in Tokyo's Nikkei index following Japan's earthquake and tsunami has failed to unsettle the London market.

The FTSE 100 dropped by around 0.2 per cent, off 10.7 points at 5818.2 and some leading Japanese firms suffered heavy losses amid fears about the economic impact of the disaster.

Individual stocks in London showed sharp movements, including luxury goods firm Burberry and temporary power supplier Aggreko but investors in Europe and Asia refused to panic over the tragedy in which thousands have died.

Some of Japan's leading firms suffered heavy losses amid fears about the economic impact of Friday's disaster, including power shortages that could disrupt factory output. Car makers were badly affected with Toyota down eight per cent.

Oil prices continued to fall on expectations that weaker Japanese economic output will depress demand for crude. The price of Brent crude dropped to around 111 US dollars a barrel, while the price of oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange was below 100 US dollars a barrel.

However the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG) leapt 7.4 per cent to 74p a therm - the highest since November 2008 - as fears mounted that imports to Britain would be hit as cargoes are diverted to stricken Japan following its earthquake and accompanying nuclear crisis.

This could leave gas as the "fuel of no choice" for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), analysts at Societe Generale cautioned.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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