TUESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Bank shares leave Footsie subdued

The FTSE 100 Index today continued the uncertain performance seen since it set a new record a week ago.

A 3.2 per cent drop in Barclays shares to 254.3p acted as a brake on other banking stocks and contributed to a fall of 51.51 points in the index, which closed at 6,889.13 despite early gains seen after Wall Street’s tech-laden Nasdaq rose by nearly 1 per cent on Monday.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said the index had also suffered from wider concerns as it “backed off from all-time highs as worries China may reduce its annual growth target hit mining companies”.

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Royal Bank of Scotland fell 8.2p to 370.1p, Lloyds Banking Group dipped 0.55p to 79.44p and HSBC slipped 2p to 580.9p.

Elsewhere, despite upbeat news from insurance giant Direct Line after its pre-tax profit lifted 12.2 per cent to £456.8 million in the year to the end of December, shares dipped 2.1p to 328.4p.

Shares Punch Taverns rose by 5p to close at 92.25p after it appointed Duncan Garrood as chief executive and said he would take up his post by June. Garrood joins Punch from franchise operator MH Alshaya, where he had been president of the food division since 2009. Punch said executive chairman Stephen Billingham will revert to the role of non-executive chairman once Garrood takes over the helm.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Tullow Oil up 7.5p at 364.8p, Taylor Wimpey up 3p at 147.9p, Morrisons up 3.2p at 202p and Hargreaves Lansdown up 11p at 1,171p.

The biggest blue-chip fallers, aside from Barclays, were Smith & Nephew down 68p at 1,131p, Travis Perkins down 81p at 1,944p and RSA Insurance down 14.1p at 420.2p.