Greece’s new finance minister, Euclid Tsakalotos, arrived in Brussels without any written proposals on how to broker a fresh bailout deal, sending markets sharply lower.
In London, the FTSE 100 Index ended the session 103.47 points lower at 6,432,21 – a slide of more than 1.5 per cent – while Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 suffered even steeper falls.
Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said: “Turning up in Brussels without fresh proposals and instead promising them tomorrow is perhaps the best way to ensure that any new ideas get a cold reception. The market’s disappointment was almost palpable, much like that of a parent confronting an unruly child, and equity markets rapidly shed the ground that they had gained yesterday.”
Among individual stocks, Glasgow’s Weir Group was among the heaviest blue-chip fallers, down 84p or 5 per cent at 1,582p after striking a deal to buy a US maker of industrial valves.
High street stalwart Marks & Spencer was also heading in the wrong direction, closing 12p lower at 535p as it revealed a fresh fall in clothing sales for the first quarter.
The utilities sector was in focus after the Competition & Markets Authority recommended capping energy prices after it said households were overpaying for their energy by about £1.2 billion a year and failing to switch to get the best deals, but stopped short of recommending a break-up of the energy giants.
Scottish Gas parent Centrica dropped 7.6p or 2.8 per cent to 259.8p, while Perth-based rival SSE, which said there was “always room for improvement” in the market, finished the session 33p lower at 1,541p.
The biggest fallers in the top flight were mining groups Glencore, off 17p or 6.9 per cent at 230.6p, and Anglo American, which lost 50.9p or 5.8 per cent to finish at 832.3p.