THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Banks and builders keep FTSE rooted

Barclays shares fell to their lowest level since late 2012. Picture: Getty
Barclays shares fell to their lowest level since late 2012. Picture: Getty
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Trouble at banks Barclays and Standard Chartered offset gains by the housebuilders and left the FTSE 100 largely unchanged.

Investors decided that the Bank of England’s move to curb mortgage lending would have little effect on the new-build market, sending shares in Barratt and Persimmon up 5 per cent each.

William Nicholls, dealer at Capital Spreads, said: “It was expected that [Bank of England chief] Mark Carney would take a more aggressive approach towards mortgages. The house builders and cable traders were exchanging high fives before long as currency markets took his comments as a subtle rate hike.”

Persimmon rose 60p to 1,259p and Barratt Developments lifted 16.6p to 362.9p. In the FTSE 250, Redrow was nearly 7 per cent higher, up 16.4p to 267.6p, while estate agency group Foxtons was 17.3p stronger at 283p.

But Barclays shares fell to their lowest level since late 2012 after a fraud lawsuit was laid against the bank by the New York attorney general.

Standard Chartered was also down after the Asia-facing bank warned that its half-year operating profits will be 20 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Barclays fell by 15p to 215p. Standard Chartered, which has been hurt by tougher regulations and low volatility on its financial markets business, was 54.5p lower at 1,203p.

London Stock Exchange was at the top of the blue-chip risers’ board after it announced it is buying Seattle-based asset management business Frank Russell for £1.6 billion.

The deal, which includes the closely watched Russell 2000 small-cap stock index in the US, triggered a rise of 6 per cent in LSE shares, up 114p to 1,984p.

The FTSE 100 Index was up just 1.5 points at 6,735.12.