FTSE struggles for direction

London’s blue chip share index struggled for direction today as financials and miners lost ground after yesterday’s rally.

Insurers were back in the red, while banks lost their shine after more hefty losses from Swiss giant UBS came as a set back for the sector.

The FTSE 100 Index hovered around the opening mark – down 1.7 points at 3987.3 - with little in the way of corporate news.

Barclays was more than 1% off after notching up double digit gains in the previous session inspired by Goldman Sachs’ better-than-expected figures.

Trading sentiment was impacted by news of more job losses and almost two billion Swiss francs (€1.32bn) in losses at UBS, compounded by a poor finish on America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Headline US inflation figures due out later today will also be closely watched as an indicator for the world’s biggest economy.

L&G was one of the FTSE’s biggest fallers, off 7% or 3.7p at 50.8p, while among banks, Barclays dropped 2.4p to 193.1p.

Miners were also in negative territory, led by Fresnillo, off 32.5p at 416.5p.

On the risers board, BG Group rose 2% or 16p to 1060p after announcing an oil discovery in Brazil.

Telecoms giant BT was enjoying more stable trading after yesterday’s volatility after newspaper reports said its annual results next month may include a £1.5bn (€1.7bn) write-down stemming from its global services division.

Shares rose 2.3p to 83.4p.

Housebuilders were seeing mixed fortunes in the FTSE 250 following conflicting data showing signs of life in the UK’s beleaguered housing market last month, but with price figures confirming heavy falls in February.

Taylor Wimpey lifted 2.75p to 53.25p, but Persimmon dropped 19.85p to 391.75p.

Pub group Marston’s was meanwhile making advances after better than expected recent trading, sending shares up 7.25p to 164p.

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