MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: Markets fly clear of Greek election

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Markets steered clear of turbulence as British Airways owner IAG helped the FTSE 100 avoid storm clouds threatened by the success of Greece’s left-wing Syriza party in elections.

The Greek poll result failed to spark turmoil, as investors took heart from comments by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras that he did not want confrontation with international creditors over Greece’s bail-out package.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct “This certainly could have been worse. All the major European indices have finished the session higher whilst the euro is also managing to post signs of appreciation so it would seen that neither the new [Greek] government – or the Trokia of international lenders – can afford to see this fail.”

IAG was one of the biggest risers in the top-flight as it raised its takeover offer for Ireland’s Aer Lingus, helping the Footsie finish 19.57 points ahead at 6,852.4. IAG’s shares climbed 2 per cent or 13p to 549p after it raised its offer for Aer Lingus to just over £1 billion.

Meanwhile, oil prices were buoyed by comments from the head of Opec that their slide may have reached its bottom. Brent crude lifted to just under $49 US a barrel.

BG Group topped the FTSE 100 risers’ board, up 25.9p or 3 per cent, to 917.6p. Oil heavyweight BP climbed 6.6p to 439p while rival Royal Dutch Shell rose 30p to 2,304p.

Housebuilders received a boost after a bullish note from analysts at HSBC offset fears of a market slowdown caused by the looming election.

They said recent weakness was “a short-term blip to an upwards share price trend” and that “long-term fundamentals and corporate discipline are better than ever”. Persimmon climbed 35p to 1,562p while Taylor Wimpey was up 2.1p to 135.2p and Barratt Developments rose 6.6p to 456.7p.