FTSE up as Greek endgame arrives
The FTSE 100 crawled up this morning as investors braced themselves for an expected decision on a Greek debt deal and the prospect of the Bank of England pumping in another £50bn into its quantitative easing programme.
Greek officials said pension cuts were the sticking point in talks which have lurched from one crisis point to another.
But Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said he hoped the party leaders could find a compromise before a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers at 5pm today.
Meanwhile the BoE is poised to pump £50bn in additional quantitative easing asset purchases while it is expected to yet again freeze interest rates.
And in a boost to the UK economy industrial production – which accounts for around 15 percent of the British economy – grew 0.5 per cent in December, the Office for National Statistics said. That beat forecasts for a 0.2 per cent rise.
Resource-related groups and engineers led the climbers on London’s blue chip index. Oil services company BG Group was the top riser, up 2.8 per cent.
Cairn Energy also nudged up by more than two per cent while commodities giant Glencore – which is trying to form a $90bn (£56bn) merger with Xstrata – rose 1.6 per cent.
Engineer GKN was up 1.6 per cent while luxury retailer Burberry lifted 1.7 per cent.
In banking Lloyds was up 0.7 per cent, Barclays 0.8 per cent and RBS a narrow 0.04 per cent. RBS chief executive Stephen Hester yesterday went on the front foot to publicly defend his strategy to put the lender back on track.
On the negative side Rio Tinto was down 1.1 per cent after issuing a trading update revealing that its aluminium production had taken a hit.
Vodafone was off by 0.2 per cent after missing forecasts in the third quarter.
The biggest faller on the index was broker Hargreaves Lansdown, down 3.2 per cent.
It posted a 13 per cent drop in net new business during its first half year to 31 December as economic gloom and falling stock markets hit investor sentiment.
Sweeteners giant Tate & Lyle was off by 2.6 per cent after a trading update was poorly received. British Land edged down by 1.9 per cent.
Rolls-Royce was off by 1.7 per cent despite reporting a surge in profits.
In Asia the Nikkei and Hang Seng saw marginal losses.
Across the Atlantic later US weekly jobless claims figures are due for release.