London’s FTSE 100 Index gave back early gains today as the top flight once more settled near the 4200 mark.
The Footsie, which lost eight points in its previous session, added 30 points in the opening minutes of trading following a late rally for the Dow Jones Industrial Average last night.
But hopes of a strong finish to the week were dashed as the market again lacked the confidence to break clear of the 4200 barrier. By mid-morning the Footsie stood 4.8 points lower at 4193.2.
And traders are not expecting much of a pick-up later in the session as the holiday weekend in the United States is likely to keep volumes wafer-thin.
On the corporate front, National Grid Transco was being closely watched following the power cuts which brought London to a standstill last night.
However, there was little impact on the stock, which fell 4.5p to 389.5p, a drop of 1%.
In a session of few major moves, Royal & Sun Alliance led the way with a decline of 4.25p to 140p.
Sainsbury’s was another faller, down 6.75p at 275.25p as rival Tesco – up 4.25p at 217.25p – announced £60m ( €87m) of price cuts.
Outside the Footsie, a number of media stocks benefited from a rush of buying interest with radio group GWR up 20p at 232.5p, Capital Radio ahead 27.5p at 557.5p and Chrysalis 5p stronger at 205p.
Those heading in the opposite direction included electronics group Psion, which fell 4p to 78p despite announcing narrower half-year losses of £11m (€15.9m).
Investors appeared more concerned with the company’s plan to increase its stake in mobile phone software firm Symbian from 25% to 31%.
Tech company Morse rose 1%, up 1.5p to 145p, despite announcing a £14.1 million full-year loss.