FTSE stalls near 6,500

THE top share index was broadly flat in early trading, stalling near five-year highs at 6,500.

Landlord British Land dropped 2.8 per cent in early deals, as it unveiled a £500m share placing to fund new investment opportunities. The blue chip property company also divested City office block Ropemaker Place for £472m.
Fellow property firms Land Securities and Hammerson were down one per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
Miner Fresnillo was down 2.75 per cent, as investors reacted negatively to its full-year results, which showed that silver prices pushed down profits.
Engineer Aggreko fell 0.9 per cent. Last week its shares put in a bumper performance as the temporary power solutions reported an 11 per cent rise in full-year profits.
Leading the FTSE 100 back up again were a couple of miners and leisure companies.
Antofagasta, which this morning doubled its dividend payout on the back of higher profits, was up four per cent.
Central Asian miner Kazakhmys – which was relegated from the FTSE 100 last week, and is due to begin trading on the FTSE 250 on 18 March – fell three per cent.
Hotels group InterContinental Hotels rose 2.6 per cent, while holiday firm Tui Travel was up 1.8 per cent.
UK banks had a good morning. Lloyds Banking Group – which this morning said it had netted £520m from its 20 per cent stake sale in wealth manager St James’s Place – was up 2.2 per cent.
HSBC rose 0.1 per cent, RBS was up 1.83 per cent and Barclays added 1.57 per cent.