London's FTSE unchanged at close despite Ukraine impact

AFP
The FTSE 100 index added 51.49 points or 0.79 percent on Friday to close at 6,550.27 points
The FTSE 100 index added 51.49 points or 0.79 percent on Friday to close at 6,550.27 points (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

London (AFP) - London's leading share index remained steady on Tuesday with the impact of Ukraine tensions on European neighbours balanced by strong results from insurance giant Prudential.

The FTSE 100 index closed essentially unchanged at 6,632.42 points, tempered by weak data from Germany where investor confidence is taking a knock from the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Prudential posted surging half-year profits, despite facing some difficulties in key markets Asia and Britain, it said in a statement.

Net profit soared to £1.145 billion in the six months to June 30, more than three times the amount recorded in the first half of 2013.

The British company's shares rose 2.2 percent to 1,368.5 pence, making it the second highest climber of the day.

In Germany, investment sentiment fell to the lowest level for nearly two years this month owing to concern about economic fallout from the current global crises, a survey found.

The widely watched investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute fell 18.5 points to 8.6 points in August, its lowest level since December 2012, a ZEW statement said.

Meanwhile, a huge convoy headed towards eastern Ukraine that Russia portrayed as a humanitarian aid effort raised market tension a notch higher.

"Investors are wondering if there will be a reaction from Ukraine and from Europe," said Alexandre Baradez, an analyst at IG France.

Leading the London stock market, however, was Sports Direct International, which climbed 3.1 percent to close at 682.5 pence after its "outperform" rating was reissued by analysts at BNP Paribas.

Hargreaves Lansdown was the biggest faller, losing 2.87 percent to close at 1,050 pence after investment bank UBS started coverage of the financial services group with a "sell" rating.

Mondi, the Johannesburg and London-listed packaging and paper group, fell 1.56 percent to 1,009 pence.

Lloyds Banking Group was the most traded stock, with 61.52 million units changing hands, followed by Vodafone with 39.56 million.

On the currency markets, the pound climbed to $1.6811 from $1.6775 at around 17.30 pm while it rose to 1.2584 euros from 1.2508 euros over the same period.