FTSE edges lower ahead of key data

City currency workerLondon's leading shares index has struggled to find direction as investors prepared for a week of important economic data.

The FTSE 100 Index was 5 points lower at 5841 after figures revealed the Greek economy shrank 6.2% between April and June as strict austerity measures continued to take a toll.
The figures will return focus to the debt-laden eurozone nation, which is struggling to meet targets set by international lenders for continued bailout funding.

Later this week, traders are awaiting key gross domestic product figures for the second quarter in France and Germany, as well as the latest UK inflation numbers for July.

Meanwhile, monetary policy committee minutes are also expected to reveal whether there was any pressure on the Bank of England to boost the amount of quantitative easing from the previous increase announced in July.

Oil and gas group Petrofac fell to the bottom of the FTSE 100 despite unveiling a 37.5% rise in pre-tax profits for the six months to June 30 to 412.5 million US dollars (£263 million). The company saw shares lose 5% or 83.1p to 1483p after it confirmed a number of contract awards in onshore engineering & construction have been delayed.

Heavily weighted mining stocks dragged on the top-tier with Vedanta Resources dropping 17.5p to 979.5p, Kazakhmys falling 9p to 737p and Xstrata sliding 1.7p to 925.4p.

Shares in embattled banking giant Standard Chartered were up 1% amid reports that the lender was closing in on a settlement deal with New York state regulators over alleged hidden transactions with Iran.

The bank, which saw shares rise 19p to 1345p, was last week accused of illegally processing 250 billion US dollars (£160 billion) of payments for Tehran. Standard maintains the total amount that did not comply with US sanctions laws was just a fraction of that at 14 million US dollars (£9 million).

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