WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Weir crash sinks FTSE’s 7,000 hopes

Traders baulked at an assault on the 7,000 level for the FTSE 100 as doubts emerged over the ability of Greece’s government to deliver on its pledges to the EU.

Footsie reached an all-time high yesterday. Picture: Getty

The Footsie retreated from its all-time high but recouped some of its losses towards the end of the session to close 14.25 points lower at 6,935.38.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “The FTSE-100 has put in a respectable session with no signs of abject profit taking emerging in the wake of Tuesday’s record-breaking session.

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“The big story has been that collapse in the Weir Group share price after annual results rammed home the implications of falling oil prices.”

Glasgow-based Weir lost almost 9 per cent of its value after it warned of an uncertain outlook for the year ahead. Shares fell 163p to 1,700p.

In contrast, wealth manager St James’s Place rose 4 per cent or 38p at 930p to the top of the FTSE 100 after it reported a 29 per cent rise in annual operating profits and said it was well placed to continue its growth this year.

Other risers included Premier Inn and Costa coffee owner Whitbread after it forecast that it would deliver results at the top end of City expectations. Shares rose 140p to 5,245p as it recorded overall growth of 5.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis for the final quarter of the year.

Morrisons lifted 1.1p to 192.9p after the supermarket chain confirmed the appointment of former Tesco high-flyer David Potts as its chief executive from next month.

His arrival has been welcomed by City analysts as the UK’s fourth biggest grocery looks to build on recent signs of improved trading.

Shares in rival Tesco were 2.5p stronger at 240.9p and Sainsbury’s added 1.7p to 271.7p.