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United plummets on a mixed day
for media shares

LONDON - Shares in United Business Media plunged 12.5% today after it issued a trading statement in which it slashed its dividend.

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The company was trading at a six-week low of 446.5p during a mixed day on the stock market for media and advertising shares.

Troubled ITV companies Carlton and Granada rose 1.56% to 227.5p and 0.18% to 136.25p respectively, while rival BSkyB was down 0.87% to 739.5p.

However, cable operator NTL, which this week saw its share price almost collapse under the weight of concerns about its £12bn debt, began to stage a recovery today, soaring 23.4% to $0.79 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The cable company's shares have been buoyed by reports suggesting that it is set to restructure its debt by converting part of it into shares. This has relieved shareholders concerned that the company does not have enough cash to survive beyond 2003.

In the advertising sector, there was very little movement but Aegis dropped 2.44% to 90p, Cordiant slipped 1.13% to 88.5p and WPP slid 0.79% to 688p.

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