The London market slipped into the red today as investors absorbed details of European plans to provide debt-laden Greece with a financial safety net.
Traders took the opportunity to book profits as the FTSE 100 Index slipped off yesterday’s highs – down 18.8 points to 5708.9 by midday.
However the blue-chip index, which is temporarily expanded to 101 firms in the wake of the Cable & Wireless demerger, is still at levels not seen since June 2008.
Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index said investors were nervous after the Dow Jones Industrial Average wiped out triple digit session gains late yesterday.
“We have seen some bouts of profit taking as a precaution in case we see similar moves in Europe to the US last night,” he added.
Dow futures today pointed to a rise of or 0.2%. With little data to move trading, the Greek support plan grabbed most attention.
The rescue plan hammered out by European countries and the International Monetary Fund comes with strict conditions and makes no money available to Athens immediately – only kicking in if it is unable to raise funds from financial markets.
Worries about the huge levels of debt in the country have sown uncertainty in markets in recent weeks and put the euro under pressure, although the currency rebounded today. The pound was down to 1.11 against the euro and up to 1.49 against the dollar.
In corporate news, Cable & Wireless completed its long-awaited demerger, with two separate companies now listed in the top flight – meaning the FTSE 100 contains an extra company until Tuesday.
C&W Worldwide, which provides services to the world’s largest users of telecoms, topped the risers board with a rise of 6% or 5.8p to 95.05p.
But C&W Communications, the operator of services in 38 local markets, instead fell 61% or 90.1p to 57.9p.
HMV was the star performer in the FTSE 250 after it released a strategy update for the next three years.
The Waterstone’s owner soared 8% – 6.15p to 84.95p – after it revealed plans to boost its live music and festival division, while implementing a turnaround plan at its under-pressure book chain.
Meanwhile, Durex-to-Scholl footcare consumer goods firm SSL International rose 9.5p to 808p after it said strong sales of its key brands and acquisitions had underpinned growth this year.
Elsewhere, collectables firm Stanley Gibbons rose 7%, up 8p to 129.5p, after it posted an 11% rise in annual profits.