Monday’s market close: Traders await Thursday’s US crunch

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The Footsie treaded water today as traders remained calm ahead of Thursday’s deadline for the United States to increase its debt ceiling.

US President Barack Obama and his Republican opponents failed to reach an agreement over the weekend to raise the country’s borrowings limit.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “The City’s traders have become increasingly accustomed to delayed trains, slow running undergrounds and increasingly miserable weather and – judging by the market’s reaction – we can also add US political indecision to the list.”

But Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam warned: “If we go another 48 hours without a deal to avoid the debt ceiling being agreed, we could see the rate of selling pick up, and that comfort replaced with panic.”

The FTSE 100 index closed up 20.46 points at 6,507.65, as traders bided their time.

Telecommunication stocks were in demand, with BT up 5.4p at 353.5p after sealing a deal with British Sky Broadcasting to show Sky Movies channels.

Vodafone edged 1.75p higher to 221.55p after completing its deal to buy German operator Kabel Deutschland.

Totally was the biggest riser on the Alternative Investment Market (Aim) – up 30.4 per cent or 0.18p at 0.75p – after its Total Health subsidiary won a contract to help Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Royal Derby Hospital NHS Foundation Trust cope with busier periods during the winter. The firm said the deal could lead to further work.

It was closely followed on the leaderboard by pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond, which bounced back from recent lows after its fund-raising efforts collapsed to post a 28.7 per cent rise, up 10.75p at 48.25p.