Business Week – Up and down week sees index drop.

Accountancy-related stocks hedged lower this week dragging their index down, as bad news sent one stock plunging and caused five others to dip.

Despite gains from Reed Executive, the Accountancy Age/ADVFN index fell 0.95 points, closing the week out at 97.3 points after dipping as low as 96.97 points last Wednesday.

The accountancy index followed the benchmark FTSE-100 closely, which fell 2.05 points to 104.43 over the week.

Support services company Hays saw its shares plunge 12% after taking a book loss of £10m on its sale of DX Express, including a goodwill write-off of £8m.

Hays announced it had sold its loss-making Spanish mail services for a cash-per-share offer of £75m.

Following the sale, Hays’ stock was downgraded by analysts at Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and a cautious Merrill Lynch reiterated its ‘market perform’ recommendation on the stock.

On the other side of the spectrum, Reed Executive gained 8% after confirming it will demerge its health business to form Reed Health Group plc. The new company will begin trading in early July and existing shareholders will receive one RHG share per ordinary Reed Executive share.

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