Markets: Hopes of 6,000 FTSE dashed by US

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FTSE 100 CLOSE 5945.43 -10.48

Will Hedden, sales trader at IG Index, said: “A reasonably strong performance from markets in the morning session failed to hold during the afternoon, as European markets gave back most of their gains following a weak open for US indices.”

Fears that the US Federal Reserve’s upbeat assessment of the economy on Tuesday night would translate into a lack of support from the central bank hit investors and triggered a surge in the value of the dollar against all major currencies.

The FTSE 100 Index ended the day some 10.5 points lower at 5,945.4 after spending much of the day above 5,970.

Insurer Legal & General was top of the blue-chip risers’ board, climbing 7 per cent or 9p to 134.3p after it posted a 5 per cent rise in operating profits and a bigger-than-expected 35 per cent hike in its dividend to 6.4p.

But telecoms giant Vodafone shed 2.4 per cent after a broker downgrade and news that meetings it held with rivals are being investigated by the European Commission.

Exane BNP Paribas cut its rating on the mobile phone firm from “neutral” to “underperform” and reduced its price target on the shares from 195p to 175p. The EC has requested information from Vodafone – along with Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica – regarding meetings they have held together.

Vodafone says the meetings were “open and transparent”, but its shares fell 4.1p to 166.7p.

Outside the top flight, UK Coal was down nearly 28 per cent after saying it may close Britain’s biggest pit. Shares lost 8.25p at 21.25p.

New York: The Standard & Poor’s 500 broke a five-day streak of gains last night, as US investors found little reason to extend a rally that took the benchmark index to four-year highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 16.42 points, or 0.12 per cent, to end at 13,194.10 wyhile the broader S&P 500 Index dipped 1.67 points, or 0.12 per cent, to finish at 1,394.28. The Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.85 of a point, or 0.03 per cent, to close at 3,040.73.