WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Footsie unmoved by football fight

The FTSE 100 was left little moved yesterday by the disparate fortunes of various sectors and firms.

Rivals BT and Sky were among the movers as investors judged that the later had overpayed to keep its dominant position on English Premier League rights.

Challenger BT was 16.2p higher at 460p after showing restraint to keep its share of the games, but Sky dropped 21p at 933p. The wider market was quiet as traders nervously awaited the crunch meeting between Greece’s new government and its European creditors. The FTSE 100 Index closed 10.95 points lower at 6,818.17.

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Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “All of the action, what little there has been of it, has taken place in the shadow of the Eurogroup meeting.”

Energy stocks were hit by a new fall in the oil price. The cost of a barrel of Brent crude drifted below $55 as a rebound, which had taken it towards $60 earlier this week, faded.

It came as exploration firm Tullow Oil reported an even worse than expected pre-tax loss and suspended its final dividend, following the plunge in oil since last summer. Tullow shares, already hard hit by the collapse in oil prices, slumped more than 7 per cent, to 384.6p. Rival BG Group dropped 19.6p to 914.7p.

Heavyweights BP and Shell were barely affected, however, with BP down 0.6p to 445.8p and Shell down 0.5p to 2,244.5p.

Among the blue chip risers was Arm Holdings, the UK firm whose technology is used in Apple’s iPhones.

Arm reported pre-tax profits up 13 per cent to £411.3 million for 2014, boosted by a 25 per cent profits increase for the fourth quarter as sales. Shares improved nearly 3 per cent, or 31p, to 1,087p.