FTSE steadies above 6,500

THE blue chip index was flat this morning, with little corporate news for investors to chew on, remaining steady at just above the 6,500 level.
International Airlines Group topped the FTSE in early trading, rising 2.9 per cent.
Russian steelmaker Evraz rose 2.6 per cent, while chip maker ARM Holdings was up two per cent.
Copper miner Kazakhmys – which has been relegated to the FTSE 250, and is due to start trading on the index on 18 March – was also up two per cent.
Fellow miner Rio Tinto added 1.9 per cent in early deals.
On the wider index, Rentokil was up 10.2 per cent, as it posted a 10.1 per cent rise in adjusted pre-tax profit over the full year, despite its parcel delivery arm taking the shine off results.
Weighing on the FTSE 100 this morning was security giant G4S – which earlier this week posted a drop in annual profits as it continued to count the cost of the bungled Olympics contract – and oil giant Shell. Shares fell 1.5 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.
Supermarket giant Morrisons fell 0.8 per cent. Yesterday it unveiled its new digital strategy, as it confirmed it was in talks with online grocer Ocado over a possible partnership.
Outside of the blue chips, holiday company Thomas Cook sank 6.9 per cent.
Online gaming group Bwin.party was down 6.3 per cent as it posted a 17 per cent fall in 2012 profit, hit by a new gaming tax in its core German market.
UK banks put in a mixed performance this morning. HSBC fell one per cent in early deals, RBS was up 0.6 per cent, Barclays rose 1.2 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group was off by 0.02 per cent.