At the close: Opec uncertainty holds the FTSE 100 down

 
Billy Bambrough
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Opec member heads gathered in Vienna today but were unable to decide on policy (Source: Getty)

What was a volatile day on the markets ended rather flat.

Big European Central Bank (ECB) and Opec meetings in Vienna failed to move the FTSE 100 far in either direction and it ended down 0.1 per cent at 6,185.61 points.

The ECB decided, as expected, to keep interest rates on hold. Though it did raise growth and inflation forecasts for the euro zone, but by less than some had hoped.

De facto Opec leader, Saudi Arabia, promised not to flood the already oversupplied oil markets but the one-time cartel was unable to come to an agreement on production policy.

"We will be very gentle in our approach and make sure we don't shock the market in any way," the kingdom's new energy minister, Khalid al-Falih told reporters.

Read more: Millions of barrels of oil are stuck at sea because Venezuela can't pay

Joshua Mahony, of IG, said:

Opec and the ECB have led a highly volatile day today, as initial positivity turned sour at the decisions from both parties to remain as they were.

Upward revisions to growth and inflation for 2016 certainly made a change from the usual fare, potentially marking a turning point after a sustained period of pain.

Now that the tide is slowly turning, it will be interesting consider the fate of the single currency in a world where Super Mario one day doesn’t come offering his token dovish gift to the markets.

National Grid and Marks & Spencer dropped as they moved into trading without the attraction of their latest dividend payouts.

National Grid fell by 4.5 per cent, while M&S lost 3.8 per cent.

Broker downgrades on heating and plumbing supplies group Wolseley added to yesterday's sell off, sending shares down a further 1.1 per cent.

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At the other end of the blue-chip index Johnson Matthey was by far the best performer after its latest results reassured investors its future is looking up. Shares closed up 5.9 per cent.

House builders also performed well. Persimmon, Ashtead, and Barratt Developments all rose between 1.6 and two per cent.

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