The FTSE 100 Index slid 1.9 points to 5,890.3 today as uncertainty over the outcome of talks between Greece and its creditors saw traders ditch riskier stocks and move to more defensive investments
It had been as much as 40 points lower but pulled back most of its earlier losses as hopes rose late in the day that a deal could be reached.
The economic uncertainty saw traders pull out of risky mining stocks, with Glencore losing hold of earlier gains despite announcing plans to form the world’s fourth largest natural resources firm.
Glencore, which will have 55% of the new business, fell 17.5p to 443.3p, while merger partner Xstrata was off 61.5p at £12.00, even though the tie-up represents a 15% premium on its share price at the start of February.
Fellow miners Antofagasta, Eurasian Natural Resources and Randgold Resources fell 28p to £13.35, 18.5p to £7.03 and £2.70 to £72.95 respectively.
BP’s annual results and its first dividend increase since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill failed to inspire traders. Nerves ahead of the oil giant’s trial over its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe meant shares fell 3.1p to 486.5p.
Pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline saw its shares drop 1%, or 13.5p to £14.06 after full-year results came in below City expectations.
The Footsie’s biggest risers were Hargreaves Lansdown up 19.4p to 460.4p, Cairn Energy ahead 11.7p at 356.6p, BG Group up 34.5p to 1464.5p and Shire ahead 50p at £21.79.
Outside the top flight, TalkTalk Telecom topped the FTSE 250 Index risers’ board – up 11%, or 12.6p to 131.5p after it raised its full-year earnings guidance.
Elaine McLachlan, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Inverness, highlighted Aberdeen-based oil and gas exploration firm Xcite Energy rising 2.23% to 93.3p.
Scottish fallers included Plexus Holdings down 3.8% at £1.02, Goals Soccer Centres off 2.7% at 88p and Wolfson Microelectronics 2.5% lower at 157.5p.