FTSE edges up but fails to get excited

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FTSE 100 CLOSE 5892.75 +5.26

The London market was indifferent yesterday as the latest chapter in the Greek debt saga drew to a close.

The country’s completion over the weekend of its deal to cut the value of privately-held bonds had already been priced in, leaving the FTSE 100 index just 5.3 points higher at 5,892.8.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said that, despite the latest bail-out, there remain more questions than answers with respect to Greece’s ability to re-pay its debts.

“Early indications show that the yields on the new [Greek] bonds are still well above equivalent levels of Portuguese bonds, suggesting markets remain highly sceptical about the sustainability of the new program,” he said.

By forcing some bondholders to agree to the deal, Greece triggered credit default insurance, a move that weighed on financial stocks. Royal Bank of Scotland was down 0.8p to 25.37p, Barclays dropped 4.9p to 235.9p and Lloyds Banking Group was 0.7p lower at 33.7p.

Insurer Aviva was also down 4.9p at 356.5p but rival Prudential moved in the opposite direction after it was reported to be working on plans to open a general insurance business in Brazil. The speculation, ahead of today’s full-year results, helped shares rise 7.5p to 728p.

Chinese export data released over the weekend suggested weak Asian growth in the first quarter of this year. That hit commodity stocks, which were down across the board. Vedanta Resources shed 52p to 1,369p and Rio Tinto was down 58.5p to 3,450.5p.

The biggest riser in the FTSE 100 Index was supermarket chain Morrisons, which climbed 2 per cent or 6.8p to 301.6p, on the day it met analysts at its branch in St Albans to show off planned improvements to its store formats.

NEW YORK: Defensive names rallied in an otherwise flat day for Wall Street yesterday, as traders paused to digest recent gains and looked ahead to a Federal Reserve monetary policy statement.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 37.69 points, or 0.29 per cent, to end at 12,959.56 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ticked up just 0.22 of a point, or 0.02 per cent, to finish at 1,371.09. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 4.68 points, or 0.16 per cent, to close at 2,983.66.