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Tue close: Rally counters Greek stalemate

Stocks recovered at the close after falling to near five-month lows as the stalemate in the Greek debt talks continued to hover over markets.

Eurozone officials are considering an emergency summit at the weekend amid fears that Athens and its creditors will not reach a deal at a meeting of finance ministers on Thursday.

The FTSE 100 ended the day down just 0.42 points (-0.01%) at 6,710.10 after a late afternoon rally across Europe. It was down 0.3% at 6,688.67 points in late afternoon trade, near its lowest level since late January.

Oilfield services companies and oil and gas producers were trading lower on largely bearish sentiments in the oil markets, with blue chips BP (down 1.03%) and Shell (‘a’ shares down 0.86% / ‘b’ shares down 0.66%) leading the sell-off with a plethora of mid to small cap oil and gas exploration and production companies in the red.

Airlines were particularly hard hit with Air France‘s shares down 4% after the company announced it was axeing some routes in a cost-cutting exercise. The announcement had a knock-on effect on the sector with International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) among the worst-performers, its shares falling sharply.

Equities were also down on more reports of a rise in US interest rates.

Housebuilders such as Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon and Crest Nicholson performed well. Crest Nicholson impressed with an upbeat outlook as it posted a 52% jump in first-half profits.

Royal Mail shares were back in positive territory, wiping out earlier losses on concerns about an Ofcom review into the regulation of the postal operator after the withdrawal of rival Whistl.

Despite investor concerns, Investec reiterated a ‘buy’ recommendation on Royal Mail, saying: “We do not expect any substantive changes when the review concludes in 2016.”



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