Markets fell sharply amid the latest concerns that debt-laden Greece could miss an upcoming loan repayment.
The FTSE 100 Index dropped 82.73 points to end the session at 6,948.99 on fears the country would not be able to meet a €300 million (£212m) instalment to the International Monetary Fund, due early next month.
Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said: “Most of the policymakers involved agree that a default would be a ‘bad thing’ but this is as far as agreement goes. Various suggestions for new tax-raising powers or debt consolidations have been aired, but they do little to advance the idea that Greece will manage to remain in the eurozone.”
Among individual stocks, budget airline EasyJet flew 25p higher to 1,616p following a better-than-expected profit haul at Irish rival Ryanair, but Flybe glided down 0.75p to 55.25p.
Royal Mail topped the blue-chip risers’ board, jumping 18p or 3.6 per cent to 521.5p – their highest level in almost a year – on the back of a broker upgrade. Cantor Fitzgerald lifted its rating on the group from “sell” to “hold” and increased its target share price from 440p to 500p.
Glasgow-based engineer Weir Group was another strong performer, closing 65p higher at 2,002p, a rise of 3.4 per cent, but the heaviest top-flight faller was miner Fresnillo, down 27p or 3.5 per cent at 736p.
In an otherwise quiet day for corporate news as the City drifted back to work after the bank holiday weekend, cinema chain Cineworld saw shares add 3p to close at 504p after reporting buoyant trading thanks to recent blockbusters such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron and Fast & Furious 7. The FTSE 250 firm is now pinning its hopes on a strong second half to the year, which will feature the latest instalments in the Star Wars and James Bond franchises.