Europe

London shares end flat

A man walks past the London Stock Exchange, in central London, on September 22, 2011. London shares close flat at the end of trade as traders reacted to a drop in eurozone industrial production and awaited a key meeting on Syria.

A man walks past the London Stock Exchange, in central London, on September 22, 2011. London shares close flat at the end of trade as traders reacted to a drop in eurozone industrial production and awaited a key meeting on Syria.  (AFP/File)

London shares close flat at the end of trade on Thursday as traders reacted to a drop in eurozone industrial production and awaited a key meeting on Syria.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading shares was virtually unchanged at 6,588.98 points.

"The only noteworthy release... was the eurozone industrial production figure which showed activity falling 2.1 percent in July, well below expectations of minus 0.1 percent," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari traders.

"The recent recovery in the eurozone meant people paid little attention to this release as it's probably just a one-off. If we continue to see more poor data out of the region, people will start to sit up and take notice more," he added.

Eurozone industrial output fell by 1.5 percent in July, data showed Thursday, dampening hopes for a continuation of the growth that helped the currency bloc escape recession.

The 1.5 percent drop in July from June followed a downwardly revised 0.6 increase in June, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said.

Compared with July 2012, industrial output in the 17-nation eurozone fell by 2.1 percent.

"July's large fall in eurozone industrial production put a serious dent in hopes that the tentative recovery underway in the region's economy will have gathered further momentum in the current quarter," said analysts at Capital Economics in London.

The eurozone exited an 18-month recession by posting 0.3 percent growth in April to June.

Back in London, Lloyds Banking Group remained the most traded blue-chip by volume with 134.32 million units switching owners, followed by Vodafone which saw 84.27 million units change hands.

The day's best performer was AMEC, which rose 1.86 percent to 1078 after it withdrew from the bidding for oil and gas specialist Kentz. It was followed by Morrison climbing 1.78 percent to 302.50 after the retailer posted its first-half results.

Randgold was the biggest loser, falling 2.56 percent to 4496 as miners gave up recent gains. Aggreko was next descening 2.48 percent to 1610.

On the currency markets, sterling slipped to $1.5817 at 5:06pm from $1.5818 at the same time on Wednesday, and also lost 1.1879 euros from 1.1883 over the same period.

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