* FTSE 100 down 0.8 pct; only five stocks post gains
* Index tracks Wall Street sell-off
* Investors concerned valuations looking frothy
* CRH top riser on sector consolidation hopes
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, April 7 Britain's top share index fell
on Monday, taking its cue from Wall Street which slid on Friday
as high-growth firms mainly in the tech and biotech sectors were
The FTSE 100 was down 52.31 points, or 0.8 percent,
at 6,643.24 points by 0801 GMT, with every sector in the red
aside from building materials & fixtures as M&A activity in
Europe fuelled hopes for more consolidation in the sector.
Irish building supplies group CRH rose 0.9 percent,
heading a list of only five blue-chip risers, after
Switzerland's Holcim unveiled an all-share deal to buy
France's Lafarge to create the world's biggest cement
Traders saw scope for the groups to divest assets that could
boost other players, such as CRH. Trading volume in CRH stood at
three quarters of its 90-day daily average after just an hour's
trade, while the FTSE 100 was on only 10 percent of its average.
The UK benchmark broke a three-week winning streak after the
Nasdaq Composite sank 2.6 percent on Friday, pressured
by a sell-off in tech and biotech shares, seen as "momentum
stocks" that had led 2013's rally.
Frothy valuations are curbing investor interest in putting
more money to work in equities. The FTSE 100 trades on a
12-month forward price/earnings ratio of 13.2 times, against its
five-year average of 11 times, Thomson Reuters Datastream shows.
"I just think valuations have got further ahead than is
justified by the underlying earnings. Each rally has petered out
when we've got to the top end of that valuation range. I think
that probably remains the case until the earnings base looks a
bit more solid and the forward estimates start going up rather
than down," Peel Hunt equity strategist Ian Williams, said.
Williams reckoned on a period of consolidation for the FTSE
100 until at least mid-year, enabling earnings to catch up and
perhaps setting the scene for the market to rise into year end.
The FTSE 100 has been trapped in a range between around
6,400 to 6,800 since late October.
The index is currently finding some support around 6,640 -
which provided support last week. Alpari analyst Craig Erlam
said that should the index break below this level, further
support could be found around 6,628, a previous resistance
level, followed by 6,600.
"This (6,600) is not just a key psychological level for the
index. The 20 and 200-day (moving averages) also cross at this
level so I expect this to be key. A break of it would be
extremely bearish in my opinion," he said.
(Additional reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Hugh