FTSE 100 flat after hitting multi-year highs

The leading share index was flat in this morning's trading, after the FTSE 100 hit its highest level in almost five years yesterday, giving London its best start to the trading year since 1989.

The blue chip index surged past the 6,200 level, closing up just over one per cent at 6,264.91 last night.

But this morning, the FTSE was broadly flat, led down by a variety of natural resources shares. Steelmaker Evraz was the biggest blue chip faller, shedding 1.69 per cent, while BP fell 1.18 per cent. Miners BHP Billiton and Eurasian Natural Resources were down around one per cent in early trading.

Outside of the blue chips, Avocet Mining sank 5.8 per cent on the back of its fourth quarter production results this morning, which showed that gold output over the three months to December fell.

At the other end of the spectrum, credit card insurer CPP Group rose almost 13 per cent. Oil producer RusPetro rose 12 per cent as it announced plans to strengthen its balance sheet.

Blue chip gainers this morning were lead by International Airlines Group – up 2.66 per cent in early deals – as JP Morgan upgraded the stock.

Software maker Sage rose 2.14 per cent. Earlier this week it said it continued to be affected by tough trading in Europe.

Holiday company Tui Travel was up 1.95 per cent. Earlier this week its shares fell almost five per cent as merger talks with its German parent Tui AG were called off.

Banking shares enjoyed a good morning. HSBC was up 1.02 per cent, RBS rose 0.99 per cent, Barclays added 0.27 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group soared 2.11 per cent.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 2.88 per cent, and in the US, the Dow Jones closed up 0.33 per cent.