WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Footsie hits lowest since start of year

THE FTSE 100 index closed at its lowest level since the start of the year amid ongoing worries over Greece and a poor session for supermarkets.

Picture: Getty

Falls on the FTSE 100 index came despite gains for blue chip housebuilders after strong annual results from Berkeley Group.

The index fell 29.55 points to 6680.55 as talks over crucial bail-out payments for Greece remained deadlocked.

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Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said concerns over what happens next to Greece were weighing on the market ahead of a meeting of

European finance ministers.

“It does look as if they’ve now run out of road to kick the proverbial can down,” he said.

Investors were also cautious ahead of the latest interest rate verdict from the US Federal Reserve.

Among stocks, cheer for housebuilders came after Berkeley posted profits of £539.7 million for the year to the end of April.

It also said it was targeting pre-tax profits of around £2 billion for the following three financial years.

Shares climbed 323p to 3,481p.

FTSE 100-listed Persimmon also climbed 32p to 1,991p while top-flight rival Barratt was also ahead by 9p to 618.5p.

But Britain’s big supermarkets were enduring a difficult session after a hard-hitting note from brokers at Credit Suisse on the outlook for the sector.

Tesco slipped 3.5p to 208.1p while Morrisons was down 2.3p at 175.3p and Sainsbury’s was off 0.7p at 259.9p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 also included Sky up 14p at 1,043p and BT up 5.6p at 450.8p.

The biggest fallers were Experian, down 35p at 1,179p, Land Securities down 32p at 1,236p, British Land down 20.5p at 812.5p and Rolls-Royce down 23p at 918.5p.