London FTSE 100 ends flat

The benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 153.74 points, or 2.35 percent, to close at 6,388.46 points
The benchmark FTSE 100 index shed 153.74 points, or 2.35 percent, to close at 6,388.46 points (AFP Photo/Ben Stansall)

London (AFP) - London shares closed effectively flat on Thursday with some support coming from gains across Asia and on Wall Street the previous day despite poor US growth data.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies, gained just 1.5 points to stand at 6,735,12.

"European shares are trading little changed to slightly higher, receiving a boost from firmer markets overnight in the US and Asia," said Markus Huber, senior analyst at traders Peregrine & Black.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) topped the blue chip gainers, adding 6.10 percent at 1,984, followed by Persimmon which climbed 5.00 percent to finish at 1,259. The housebuilder strengthened after the Bank of England launched measures aimed at cooling the booming housing market, including a cap on lending for home loans.

The bank's Financial Policy Committee (FPC) recommended that property loans of 4.5 times a borrower's income or higher should comprise no more than 15 percent of new mortgages, with effect from October.

Barclays led the fallers, slipping 6.52 percent to 215 pence after New York prosecutors sued the bank for fraud -- the latest blow to hit the scandal-hit company.

It was followed by Standard Chartered which dropped 4.33 percent to 1,203 with the bank warning that operating profit for the first half of 2014 will be 20 percent lower compared to the same period in the previous year. It cited "difficult trading conditions".

Barclays was the day's most traded stock with 241.73 million shares changing hands, followed by the Lloyds banking Group with 220.15 million.

On the foreign exchange markets, sterling rose to $1.7014 at 5.08 pm from $1.6983 at the same time on Wednesday, while it ascended against the single European currency over the same period to trade at 1.2499 euros from 1.2462.