Uncertainty over progress between Democrats and Republicans in finding a solution to the pending US fiscal cliff hit London’s leading shares index today.
The FTSE 100 Index in London closed 2.2 points lower at 5,869 as rival political leaders returned to the table to discuss how to avoid a raft of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts next month.
Tullow Oil was one of the biggest fallers in the top flight after it said an appraisal well off French Guiana had not encountered hydrocarbons. Shares dived 6%, off 79p to £12.92.
Financial stocks did their best to prop up London’s top flight, with Royal Bank of Scotland up 3.1p to 295.7p and Lloyds Banking Group 0.2p higher at 45.9p. In the insurance sector, Aviva was 4.7p stronger at 355.5p and RSA cheered 1.4p to 120.7p, a rise of 1%.
In a quiet session for corporate results, holiday company TUI Travel made headway after reporting an 8% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £390million for the year to September 30. Shares were 9.1p higher at 278.1p, a rise of 3%.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers included Shire up 44p at £18.55, Admiral ahead 17p at £11.48 and Tesco ahead 4.2p at 326.5p.
Among the biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Carnival off 77p at £24.45, Randgold Resources down 185p at £64.80 and Johnson Matthey off 44p at £23.53.
Elaine McLachlan, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Inverness, noted that risers included A.G. Barr, gaining 2.2% to 481.2p, Cairn Energy rising 1.5% to 269.8p and John Menzies up 1.2% at 594.8p.
Fallers included Optos off 5.1% at 170.8p, Bridge Energy down 3% at 113p and Johnston Press falling 2.7% to 13.5p.