LOWER oil prices and renewed uncertainty over Greece’s future within the single currency eurozone saw London’s festive rally come to an abrupt halt today.
With the benchmark FTSE 100 Index 86.51 points or 1.3 per cent lower at 6,547, the top flight completed its first negative session since the middle of December. Germany’s DAX and the Cac 40 in France both suffered heavy falls.
Tony Cross, market analyst, Trustnet Direct, said: “After [Monday’s] upbeat post-Christmas session, a degree of realism does appear to be creeping into the market with stocks across the board finding themselves under a degree of pressure.
“Hopes that oil prices would firm have been dashed and that’s taking a toll on the usual suspects.”
A shortened risers’ board was led by Next after it reported a 2.9 per cent hike in full-price sales for the period between 28 October and 24 December. The retailer also pleased the City with plans for a special dividend, causing its shares to rally by more than 3 per cent or 210p to 6,725p.
Marks & Spencer fell 5.7p to 477.5p ahead of its own statement next week. Tesco was 1.55p lower at 186.9p and Morrisons was down 0.5p to 182.5p.
Elsewhere, shares in travel-based stocks were higher as a result of the lower oil price, with EasyJet up more than 1 per cent or 22p to 1,664p and British Airways owner International Airlines Group ahead 10p at 481.7p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were SAB Miller, down 98.5p at 3,313p, Associated British Foods, which was 65p lower at 3,146p, British American Tobacco down 64p at 3,490p and Weir Group off 61p at 1,866p.
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