European markets lagged behind Wall Street today as speculation over US talks on the looming fiscal cliff continued to drive sentiment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 0.5% at the time of London’s close, but the improvement was too little to keep London’s FTSE 100 Index out of the red as it closed 9.6 points down at 5,912.1.
Vodafone put pressure on the top flight as shares fell 2.75p to 158.2p after Dutch authorities raised £3billion from their auction of the 4G spectrum, fuelling speculation that the UK version will reap more than forecast.
Meanwhile, retailers were doing well as analysts gauged the performance of the sector in the final days before Christmas. Primark owner Associated British Foods added 12p to £15.30, while outside the top flight Dixons Retail Group improved 0.5p to 28p, Sports Direct International was 13.8p higher at 381.2p and Debenhams rose 0.8p to 115.5p.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were International Consolidated Airline Group up 5.8p to 179.5p, Kazakhmys ahead 24.5p to 782.5p, Rio Tinto 80p higher at £34.70 and Evraz up 4.8p to 266.5p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Aggreko down 461p to £16.64, Wood Group off 13.5p to 720.5p, Vodafone 2.75p lower at 158.2p and British American Tobacco down 51p to £31.94.
Steven McKay, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Parkmead added 12.87% to 13.75p, Aberdeen Asset Management moved 1.31% higher to 349p and Standard Life closed 0.39% higher at 333.6p.
The laggards included Weir Group, down 1.05% to £17.88.