*** Mobile price war erupts

*** Not even Lara Croft can save her maker

*** What Tesco is doing right...even Sainsburytrades up...ten creepy crude facts...and mo -------------------- So what knocked the blue chip index down toone-month lows on Thursday. Well, that would bethe fall in the resources sectors, as both themining and oil and gas sectors shed 2%yesterday.

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- With the oil price easing slightly - Brentcrude traded 1% down at $53.14 a barrel - theheavyweight oil producers were hit by profittaking. BP and Shell both fell by 2%, to closeat 557p and 488p respectively.

- And four blue chip miners closed as the topindex fallers yesterday. Xstrata, Antofagastaand Rio Tinto closed 3% in the red, while AngloAmerican shed 2%. 'Valuations suggest that thesector is nearing its fair value, and after therecent outperformance we cannot justify 'buy'rating on many stocks,' broker UBS saidyesterday.

- The FTSE100 eased by 34 points - to close at4,962. The mid-cap 250 index also shed 0.3%, totrade at 7,231. And the All Share index closedat 2,492, a fall of 0.6%.

- Mobile operators got used to the idea of onemore competitor in the market, as easyMobilelaunched its operations in Britain. The result?Well, a price war broke out as CarphoneWarehouse halved its tariffs on its Freshservice. Investors pushed its share price upover 4% on the news - to a top FTSE gainer forthe day.

- Virgin Mobile, however, had less luck -closing 4% in the red. The mobile groupis likely to be hit the most by theaggressively cheaper price rates of new-comerssuch as easyMobile. It closed at 230p, but hasshed nearly 18% of its value in the past monthand a half - after hitting an all-time high at280p earlier this year.

- Lara Croft games maker Eidos saw its shareprice fall to a 10-year low yesterday. In fact,in the past year, Eidos has plunged 73% - from148p to a miserly 40p yesterday. And not evenrumours that a mystery outfit has bid for thegroup - valuing Eidos at 53p per share - couldsave the games maker.

- So what caused Eidos to shed 32% in two days?Well, yesterday it reported a £27m first-halfoperating loss. And according to the group, itnow has to pay its loan to the Royal Bank ofScotland by 25 March - or the banker couldforce Eidos to sell off either assets orintellectual property rights.&nbsp&nbsp ------------------- The Bank of England's Monetary PolicyCommittee kept interest rates steady at4.75% for the seventh consecutive monthyesterday. Nobody expected anythingdifferent - but an increasing number ofanalysts now believe that the cost ofborrowing will be upped in the next threemonths.

- The question now is whether MPC member PaulTucker - the only member to vote for a raterise last month - will change his tune. Or evenmore importantly, will Tucker have convertedsome MPC friends to his line of thinking?

- 'An 8-1 vote is probably the most likelyoutcome in March but we would not besurprised if Paul Tucker was joined by one, orpossibly even two, colleagues,' RBS FinancialMarket's Ross Walker said yesterday.

- High street chemist Boots will no doubt notbe overly enthused by the MPC's decision: theretailer had called for rate cuts to loosen upconsumer savings. As it is, the retail sectorhas suffered of late in the face of plummetinghigh street sales.

- So just how did the food and drug sectormanage to close 2% up on Thursday? Well, Bootsshould take a leaf out of Tesco's book.According to the latest TNS retail footfallfigures, the supermarket giant continued todominate the retail arena, as it expanded intonon-food business.

- Even Sainsbury got the thumbs up - as thefigures suggested a boost in the wobbling group.Tesco traded 2% up while Sainsbury added 1%.

- Yet the UK retailers are not alone in theirstruggling pursuit of customers. French groupCarrefour - the world's second largest retailer- said it's dumping its major assets in bothJapan and Mexico.

- 'Let's be honest, Japan was a short,expensive adventure for us,' Carrefour chiefexecutive Jose Luis Duran said yesterday. Sowhile the Japanese and Mexican markets haveproven fruitless, Carrefour is instead turningto both China and Brazil to expand itsbusiness. China - with its rocketing economy -is an obvious choice for the retailer. But whatabout Brazil?

- Well, Brazil's Bovespa index has gained 30%in the past year - to recently hit all-timehighs at 29,500. In fact, according to thelatest MoneyWeek - on its way to subscribers asyou read - the market's enticing p/e of 7.5 isluring the bulls to the country. Investmentbanks especially like the country's bankingstocks, such as Itau and Bradesco, andsupermarket groups like Perdigao.

- For more on the stocks to look out for inBrazil, take a look at MoneyWeek. There's alsomore on why oil's the best investmentaround...ten creepy crude facts...why Capricehates clothes...and more.

Enjoy the read, and the weekend.

Back Monday,Heather D'AltonMoney Mornin