FTSE100 ends lower as time running out for Greek deal


Britain's blue chips limped to a lacklustre close as the mood was made somber by Greece and a sharp fall in Centrica (LON:CNA) shares.

The UK benchmark finished Thursday down around nine points at 6,888 after a topsy-turvey day.

Germany's rejection of Greece's request for a bailout extension was the big macro bombshell. 

That request - for a six month extension - was already an apparent change of direction from the earlier hardline posturing of the anti-austerity Greek government.

Chris Beauchamp, at spreadbetters IG Index, said: "Today’s session has been like the good old days of the 2010-2012 Eurozone crisis," adding that first one headline and then another sent markets racing higher before immediately diving to earth. 

"During the morning the skies seemed to clear as Greece submitted its proposal for a bailout extension, apparently capitulating on many of the key points. 

"Such a climbdown raised hopes that a deal was on its way, and the decision to hold a Eurogroup meeting on Friday reinforced the sunny disposition of equity markets.

"It was left to a German to darken the horizon, as an official said the request failed to offer a real solution."

In London, British Gas owner Centrica (LON:CNA) was the biggest laggard - down 8.5% to 257p.

The group stunned investors with a dividend cut, hefty losses and profits warning for the current year.

For 2014, the company has paid out 13.5p, versus analysts’ expectations of 17.43p, while in 2015 it plans to cut – or “rebase” the dividend by 30%, suggesting a divi of about 12p, versus market expectations of 16.9p.

Across the Pond, the benchmark Dow Jones is down 51 points at the time of writing, at 17,977.

Also in London, beleaguered oiler Tullow (LON:TLW) fell today 2.66% to 398p, while BG Group (LON:BG.) lost 2.58% to 951.5p on the back of a further crude price decline.

Brent crude fell 5.4% to US$58.34 per barrel.

The biggest london riser was Cleantech Buildings (LON:CBM), up 160% to 3.25p as it listed on the main market of the stock exchange.

In the mid-caps, Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) added 7.88% to 188.9p  as it raised full-year production guidance after a sparkling set of interim results.

The company now expects to produce around 3.3mln carats in the 12 months to the end of June, up slightly from its previous guidance of around 3.2mln carats.

Elsewhere, on the flip side, Caza Oil & Gas (LON:CAZA) shares eased 17.91% to 6.875p as it secured a capital injection via a new convertible loan facility.

Up to US$5mln will be available and the initial draw-down will be for US$4mln. The first US$1mln is being transferred immediately and the next US$3mln is anticipated within the next 30 days.

The latest tests of Europa Oil & Gas’s (LON:EOG) Wressle discovery have flowed at rates up to 182 barrels of oil per day. The firm’s shares added 8.7% to 6.25p.

It adds to the growing confidence that the discovery, in East Lincolnshire, can be commercially developed.

Blur Group (LON:BLUR) added 10.29% to 96.5p. David Sherriff, the lead independent director of blur Group (LON:BLUR), topped up his stake yesterday in the e-commerce pioneer.

Sherriff bought 27,500 shares at 87p a pop, taking his holding up to 72,600 shares, equivalent to 0.15% of the company’s issued share capital.

Another gainer was Motive Television (LON:MTV), which gained 12% to 0.007p and Solgold (LON:SOLG), which added 10.88% to 4.08p.

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