City&FinanceBriefing 34 Friday, 24 July 2009 London Lite De Beers is rocked by sales diveThey were once a girls best friend, but diamonds have lost their spar- kle this year. De Beers, the worlds largest diamond miner, today said sales slumped by 57% to $1.4 billion (851 million) in the first half of the year, after its major markets in the US, europe and Japan slid into recession. De Beers added that half-year pre-tax profits dropped to $140 mil- lion from $522 million in the same period in 2008 after a collapse in demand for the companys rough diamonds. Although the firm has London jewellery stores in the Royal exchange, Westfield and harrods and on Old Bond Street, it makes most of its money by selling rough diamonds to other jewellers and polishers. Prices for rough diamonds fell by about 50% between October and mid-March, and have since made up only about 30% of their value, according to analysts. De Beers, which is controlled by mining giant Anglo American, slashed its production levels during the period. Levels of mining plunged by 91% to 1.1 million car- ats. The company mothballed its bases in South Africa and Canada, as well as others in Botswana and Namibia. however, almost all have now picked up operations again, and the company predicts a sparkling future. De Beers said: With no major new diamond discoveries in more than a decade, and with worldwide reserves at an all-time low, diamonds will become more scarce. As demand grows in emerging markets, it is likely that sales will outpace forecast diamond supply for many years to come. Losing sparkle: diamonds London shares were on the rise for an astonishing 10th session in a row today despite shocking figures showing the recession is far from over. The FTSE 100 index was up another 30.53 points to 4590.33, having already risen 432.63 points since opening at 4127.17 on Monday last week. It has now risen 11% in the past fortnight -- adding 110 billion to the value of blue-chip stocks. This is the longest rally since early 2004, and continued despite official figures showing the economy shrank by 0.8% in the second quarter of the year, almost three times more than the 0.3% slump expected. Shares shrug off economy shock BY lucY toBin Australia Dollars 1.9084 Canada Dollars 1.7255 Denmark Kroner 8.2028 Eurozone Euro 1.1052 Hong Kong Dollars 12.1200 Japan Yen 148.0600 New Zealand Dollars 2.3280 South Africa Rand 11.8900 Sweden Kronor 11.8900 Switzerland Francs 1.6742 UAE Dirham 5.6804 United States Dollars 1.5739 TourisT raTes The battle to bring home the Ashes did not stop Britons from shopping, said high Street bellwether John Lewis. The school holidays lifted sales in the toys department by 13% for the week to 18 July, while the Ashes inspired a 10% rise in sports sales. Total sales were 52.6 million, up 5.3% on the same week last year. Legions of stephenie Meyer fans could not stop Amazon slumping to a 10% fall in profits. The authors Twilight series dominated the best-sellers list at UK business amazon.co.uk between April and June. sales rose 14% to $4.65 billion (2.82 billion) but second- quarter profits tumbled to $142 million from $158 million the same time last year. UP 30.53 at 4590.33 fTse 100 Dow jones nikkei -$ UP 188.03 at 9069.29 UP 151.61 at 9944.55 UP 0.29 at $1.6507 >>for all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. not all stocks are available index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html