The FTSE 100 ended the day relatively flat as global investors awaited results from a congressional vote on Donald Trump’s US healthcare reform bill.
The index closed the day down3.89 points to 7,336.82 points ahead of news on a landmark bill that could determine the trajectory of Trump’s reform agenda.
Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist for CMC Markets, said: “The big news everyone appears to be waiting for is the US House of Representatives vote on health care reform.”
He explained that the vote represents a “big test” for market assumptions. Stocks rallied in the wake of Trump’s election victory, in part due to anticipation that Republican control of Congress would speed up the reform process.
“A defeat could be seen as a big setback but it could also open the door for the administration to move on to tax reform.”
In UK stocks, Pearson shares rose 8.5p to 643.5p as the company released its annual report, which outlined plans for a 20 per cent boost to its chief executive’s pay, despite having posted a loss for 2016.
Shares in Royal Dutch Shell’s ‘B’ shares fell 18.5p to 2,180p after the company announced it had struck a deal to sell its onshore oil and gas operations in Gabon to Assala Energy. BT shares fell 5.75p to 325.65p, following news that Ofcom has put forward plans which would force UK landline or broadband providers to compensate consumers who face slow repairs, missed deadlines or appointments. The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included Smiths Group up 45p to 1,601p and BAT up 103p to 5,277p.