MARKET CLOSE: Real estate firms drag the Footsie

PROPERTY stocks were among the worst performers as fears gripped the market that US interest rates are set to rise – even as the European Central Bank launched its €1.1 trillion (£790 billion) stimulus programme with the purchase of government bonds.

The property industry has been one of the poorest performers. Picture: Getty
The property industry has been one of the poorest performers. Picture: Getty

Land Securities was down by 26p to 1,239p and British Land was off 14.5p to 825p in the FTSE 100, with St Modwen Properties 13.9p lower at 449p in the second tier.

Further complications in Greece’s debt crisis also ensured the Footsie continued its retreat from record highs. It was 35.33 points lower at 6,876.47.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “The London market has been shaken by the latest rumblings out of Greece regarding the terms of the bailout. Greece was granted an extension to its bailout programme less than fortnight ago, and yet again the nation is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.”

The property industry has been one of the poorest performers. Picture: Getty

ITV shares retained their strength after rising 8 per cent last week on the back of strong annual results and a £250 million special dividend. The broadcaster was 0.7p higher at 247.2p.

Advertising giant WPP was 18p stronger at 1,559p after it reported a 12 per cent rise in annual profits to £1.45bn and said the new year had started well. Its shares have now risen 23 per cent over the last year.

Meanwhile, Lloyds Banking Group shares were a penny cheaper at 80.4p after the UK government announced the sale of another £500 million of shares, taking its stake in the lender to below 23 per cent.

Outside the top flight, shares in Thomas Cook slipped 3 per cent or 4p to 146.2p after rising by almost a quarter on Friday following the purchase of a 5 per cent stake in the business by Chinese conglomerate Fosun.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING