WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Stocks tread water ahead of key Greek vote

Shares were becalmed as traders awaited the result of a crunch vote in Athens on whether to accept the terms of Greece’s latest bailout deal.
The London Stock Exchange building. Picture: GettyThe London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty
The London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty

Fears that politicians could sink the rescue plan overshadowed better-than-expected economic data out of China, where quarterly growth held steady at 7 per cent and efforts are underway to reverse a market plunge.

The FTSE 100 Index ended the day a mere 4.43 points higher at 6,753.75, with uncertainty over Greece weighing on gains.

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Josh Mahony, market analyst at IG, said: “Tonight’s Greek parliamentary vote remains the biggest event risk for financial markets, with the very real possibility that the resolution found between creditors and Syriza could be all for nothing if it fails to find approval with politicians in Athens. The Greek crisis is certainly not over yet.”

Shares in Burberry were among the biggest fallers in the top flight, sliding 42p or 2.6 per cent to 1,578p, as the luxury goods group reported a sharp fall in sales in Hong Kong after recent pro-democracy protests kept well-heeled visitors from mainland China away.

Mining giant Anglo American headed in the right direction, rising 4.9p to 874.4p after a broker upgrade from Credit Suisse, while precious metals miner Lonmin jumped 4p or 5.2 per cent to 81.35p.

Scottish Gas owner Centrica was also in positive territory, despite announcing a 5 per cent cut to household bills. Jefferies analyst Peter Atherton said the move came after a 23 per cent fall in wholesale gas prices, so would not hit profit margins, and shares added 3p to finish the session at 280.3p.

Elsewhere, pubs group JD Wetherspoon reported solid sales growth but tighter margins and raised concerns over UK government plans for a statutory living wage, and its shares sank 65p or 8.4 per cent to 706p.