Low festive trading pulls FTSE down

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The FTSE 100 Index ducked below the 6,000 level - down 13.1 points to 5995.8

London’s top share index has slipped into the red as thin festive trading volumes held back progress.

The FTSE 100 Index ducked below the 6,000 level – down 13.1 points to 5995.8 – with little in the way of corporate or economic news to extend the recent Santa rally.

Futures trading suggested the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wall Street was also heading for a lacklustre session.

The Dow – which was open on Tuesday while London remained shut for the bank holiday – hit a 28-month high on Tuesday as investors reacted to economic data.

In London, banks were among those responsible for pulling the Footsie back below the 6,000 level.

The top tier closed above 6,000 for the first time since June 2008 on Christmas Eve as thin trading volumes and festive cheer helped blue chips move higher.

But banks including part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland were in the red. RBS dropped 0.7p to 40p, with taxpayer-backed counterpart Lloyds Banking Group not far behind, down 0.9p to 67.9p.

Retail giant Next was the leading faller, however, off 2% or 41p to 2006p.

Miners fought back from early session declines seen after China’s move to raise interest rates by a quarter point on Christmas Day.

The hike was the second rise in just over two months as China – a major source of demand for mining products – stepped up its battle to curb soaring inflation.

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