Travis Perkins builds support as FTSE levels - London Report

BRITAIN’S top share index ended flat yesterday, with building supplies company Travis Perkins leading gainers after a broker upgrade, while luxury goods maker Burberry was among the biggest fallers after posting slower sales growth.

Investors were reluctant to place strong bets before a crucial vote in Greece on a proposed bailout package to save the country from bankruptcy.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which had risen for the last five days and touched its highest level since late June earlier in the session, ended unchanged at 6,753.75 points.

Burberry shares fell 2.7 per cent after the British company posted underlying growth of eight per cent in first quarter retail revenue, a slowdown from the previous period partly reflecting a further deceleration in Hong Kong.

“We like Burberry for its good return on capital and strong like-for-like growth relative to peers but believe the near term will be challenging due to currency volatility and weakness in the important luxury markets of Hong Kong and China,” said Sohil Chotai at Edison Investment Research.

The UK Oil and Gas index fell 0.5 per cent, tracking weaker crude oil prices, which dropped 1.5 per cent on the prospect of a rise in Iranian fuel exports following an international deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

On the positive side, Travis Perkins rose 2.8 per cent to 2,224 pence, the top gainer in the FTSE 100 index, after Berenberg raised its stance on the stock to “buy” from “hold” and increased its price target to 2,500 pence from 2,000.

The FTSE 100 has risen around five per cent over the last week in anticipation that Greece would reach a new deal with its creditors. The benchmark index is up around three per cent since the start of 2015 but down some five per cent from a record high of 7,122.74 points reached in April.

However, concerns remain over Greece, with the International Monetary Fund warning in a report, first revealed by Reuters, that Greece needs far more debt relief than European governments have been willing to contemplate so far.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras battled to win lawmakers’ approval yesterday for a bailout deal to keep the country in the euro.

Among mid-cap stocks, TV distributor Entertainment One fell around nine per cent after a top shareholder sold a stake.