Little movement for FTSE

The London market narrowly held on to Wednesday's 21-month high today despite falls for banks and miners as investors looked to take profits.

The London market narrowly held on to Wednesday's 21-month high today despite falls for banks and miners as investors looked to take profits.

Blue chip stocks saw a quieter day after striding ahead in the previous session following news that US and Japanese central banks signalled plans to maintain low borrowing costs to help foster economic growth.

The FTSE 100 Index closed down two points at 5642.6, with little momentum offered from across the Atlantic.

Wall Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average clung to its opening mark as investors digested recent economic developments that yesterday drove stock markets higher.

IG Index strategist Anthony Grech said: "It appears that an element of profit taking has overcome investors as the previously buoyant mining and bank sectors find themselves raided. Investors generally seem content to bank recent gains for now."

In currency news, the pound slipped back against the dollar after gaining strength yesterday following positive economic indicators in the UK. It was down marginally to $1.52 today, but up to €1.12.

After better news on unemployment figures in the previous session, there was also a glimmer of hope for Britain's battered public purse today after February net borrowing figures came in lower than analysts were expecting.

Among stocks, banks dominated the fallers board, with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group among the worst hit, down 1.6p to 42p and 1.8p to 55.6p respectively.

HSBC slid 11.8p to 681p and Barclays was down 6.5p to 352.9p as Citigroup brokers downgraded their ratings on the global financial sector and said it could become a "problem child".

Miners also declined as precious metals saw a softer session. Vedanta Resources was the sector's biggest casualty, down 65p to 2706p.

GlaxoSmithKline led the risers board with a gain of 47.5p to 1272p, closely followed by oil and gas firm BG Group. BG added 18p to 1191p on vague rumours of interest from ExxonMobil.

In the FTSE 250 Index, bakery chain Greggs lifted 18.3p to 455.3p after it announced an 8% rise in annual profits to £48.8 million.

The company also stuck by plans for accelerated expansion in the next few years and said it would achieve modest sales growth this year, despite economic conditions.

Transport group Arriva added another 31p or 5% to 708p after its 17% gain yesterday as suitor Deutsche Bahn formally confirmed bid talks with the company.

Insulation group SIG moved in the opposite direction, down 9% or 11.3p to 116.1p, after it said it had lost £30m (€33.6m) in sales due to the recent cold weather. It warned that profits would be weighted towards the second half of the year.

The biggest Footsie risers were GlaxoSmithKline up 47.5p at 1272p, Experian ahead 14p at 642p, SABMiller up 36p at 1925p and Aggreko up 19p at 1154p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Royal Bank of Scotland down 1.6p at 42p, Lloyds Banking Group off 1.8p at 55.6p, Vedanta Resources down 65p at 2706p and Fresnillo down 17.5p at 836.5p.

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