Monday market close: Syria stokes uncertainty

Investors remained “cautious” today after positive economic data from China and Japan failed to ease fears over the effects of an attack on Syria.

The FTSE 100 index closed down 16.59 points at 6,530.74, having dipped as low as 6,508.76 earlier in the session.

Michael Hewson, a senior market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Increasing uncertainty – along with increasing doubts about both the size and timing of a Fed taper after last Friday’s disappointing jobs numbers – is keeping investors cautious.”

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BG Group was the biggest faller in the top flight – down 5.1 per cent or 65p at 1,217p – after the gas producer warned that political unrest in Egypt and delays in Norway would dent its predicted output.

Oil giant BP was also on the back foot after analysts at BNP Paribas cut their target price on the stock to 550p. BP dipped 1.45p to 444.1p despite making a “significant” gas discovery in the Nile Delta.

Food ingredients firm Tate & Lyle joined them on the fallers board, after UBS downgraded its price recommendation on the blue-chip stock on risks to sucralose sweetener prices, leaving it more than 3 per cent or 27.5p lower at 779.5p.

Luxury fashion label Burberry was in demand after analysts at HSBC raised their price target on the stock to 1,900p, sending shares up 35p to 1,635p.

Shares in Barratt Developments were also on the rise, up 13.7p or 4.4 per cent at 328.2p ahead of tomorrow’s full-year results from the house builder and following an upgrade from analysts at Panmure Gordon.

Glasgow-based broadcaster STV also found favour with analysts, this time from Liberium Capital, who commenced coverage of the stock with a “buy” rating and a price target of 215p. STV closed up 6.7 per cent or 14.5p at 229.5p.