Markets level off as Paris police raid and terror alerts worry investors
Markets levelled off today, after robust gains in the previous session, as police operations in Paris and last night's terror alerts hit investor sentiment.
Indices in the UK and across Europe fell earlier in the session amid reports of a deadly raid by police in northern Paris as they hunt down those involved in last week's massacre.
The raid came after the Germany-Netherlands football match in Hannover was cancelled late yesterday while two flights from the US to France were diverted after security alerts.
London's FTSE 100 Index closed 10.2 points higher at 6279, although it had opened 28 points lower.
The Cac 40 in France was 0.7% lower and Germany's Dax was flat. In New York the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 100 points in early trading.
Back in London, today's depressed trading comes after impressive gains on Tuesday, when the FTSE 100 jumped 122.4 points to 6268.8 - its biggest single session rise since October 5.
CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler said: "From a market's standpoint, it's unnerving to see public events like football matches being cancelled because of the threat of terrorism. That's before any conclusions are drawn on the impact on business and consumer spending."
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, added London stocks were also seeing profit taking after yesterday's bumper session.
The pound was little changed against the US dollar at 1.52 with scant economic news to trade on, and flat at just under 1.43 against the euro.
Among stocks, Barclays was in the spotlight after it confirmed it would pay 150 million US dollars (£98.6 million) in fines from America's banking regulator over the foreign exchange rigging scandal.
Its shares slipped 0.5p to 228p.
Travel stocks were also lower in light of the renewed security alerts.
British Airways owner International Airlines Group was the biggest faller in the top flight down 3%, or 18.5p to 573p, easyJet fell 16p to 1694p and InterContinental Hotels Group was 35p lower at 2465p.
Elsewhere, parcel and postal group UK Mail dived almost 12% or 44p to 320p after it reported lower interim profits and warned over next year's results.
It said pre-tax profits after exceptional items crashed 81% to £2.2 million in the six months to the end of September compared to a year ago, as its new hub found difficulties coping with odd-shaped parcels its machines cannot sort.
It said these problems are taking longer to resolve than anticipated, and although it plans to meet its reduced full-year targets this year, its "expectations for the next financial year have softened slightly".
The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Antofagasta up 27.6p at 500p, Glencore up 4.5p at 93.3p, Hikma Pharmaceuticals 95p at 2048p, Anglo American 18.5p at 449.5p.
The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were International Airlines Group down 18.5p at 573p, Smiths Group down 30.5p at 989.5p, Rolls-Royce down 12p at 543p and InterContinental Hotels Group down 35p at 2465p.