Wednesday, July 04 09:33:32
Britain's top share index edged lower today, having hit two-month highs in the previous session, with U.S. markets closed for a holiday and investors pausing ahead of the Bank of England rates decision due on Thursday. By 0751 GMT, London's blue chip index was down 11.67 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,676.06, after hitting its highest close since early May on Tuesday and having risen 8.6 percent in three trading days as investors readied themselves for more economic stimulus after surprise action last week at an European Union summit to tackle the euro zone debt crisis. Trading was thin on Wednesday as U.S. markets are closed for the Independence Day holiday.
Banks, whose balance sheets remain under fierce scrutiny but which had been among the sharpest risers over the past three session's as appetite for risk rose, retreated in profit taking, with scandal-hit Barclays down 0.4 percent. The UK-lender will again take centre stage as the Libor fixing scandal rumbles on with former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, who only quit on Tuesday, scheduled to appear in front of the Treasury Select Committee answering questions to his role, with traders wondering which politicians he could potentially implicate in the scandal.
The FTSE 100 was also nearing technical resistance providing food for thought for investors who have enjoyed gains over the last few sessions, which has seen the index approach the 61.8 percent retracement of the fall from mid-March, when Spain reignited euro zone debt concerns, to the index's recent low in early June. The index was also nearing overbought levels, according to its relative strength indicator, as investors had made a beeline for riskier assets since Friday after the EU's crisis-fighting deal helped put gloss on what had been a dire quarter for equity markets, which had retreated in unison on euro zone debt fears. ( C) Reuters