- FTSE closes down 21 at 6,728.44
- Ukraine, Gaza driving losses
- Housing sector weighs after data
techMARK 2,801.01 -0.10%
FTSE 100 6,728.44 -0.31%
FTSE 250 15,486.10 -0.45%
Global tensions and disappointing housing data weighed on sentiment in today's session, with the footsie falling early on before coming off the day's lows in the final minutes of trade.
Ultimately, the top tier index settled 21.01 points down at 6,728.44.
In the latest development in the Ukraine-Russian conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has bowed to substantial pressure from global leaders and called on pro-Moscow rebels to allow investigators access to the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down last week.
Putin has ordered separatists not to hinder international experts who are waiting to analyse the rebel-controlled area where flight MH17 crashed on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered a ceasefire within a 40km radius of the crash site amid claims of looting and the destroying of evidence.
Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst at IG: "Ahead of fresh earnings from the US, markets remain cautious thanks to the ongoing slow development of events relating to Ukraine.
"Conflicts such as these provide just the kind of uncertainty that markets detest, so what investors are looking for now are some strong earnings beats from the companies concerned."
Earlier today, Chancellor George Osborne said the UK is ready to accept the consequences of imposing greater sanctions against Russia.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, Osborne said: "I would say any sanctions will have an economic impact, and we are prepared to undertake further sanctions.
"But think of the economic hit, of allowing international borders to be ignored, of allowing airlines to be shot down - that's a much greater economic hit for Britain and we're not prepared to allow that to happen."
Russia, which is the biggest energy supplier to Europe, has been accused of being complicit in the attack, with US Secretary of State John Kerry saying there was an "enormous amount of evidence" that points to Russia as being involved in the supply of missile systems.
Following the downing of the plane, both the US and Ukraine have called on the European Union to become tougher in its stance towards Russia.
Meanwhile, the conflict between Israeli and Gaza continued, killing dozens of Palestinians and Israeli soldiers today. The death toll has exceeded 500 during the two weeks of clashes, according to Gaza's health ministry.
EY ITEM Club increases 2014 growth forecast to 3.1%
Here in the UK, the EY ITEM Club today upgraded its UK growth forecast for 2014 to 3.1%, saying higher levels of employment and weak levels of wage inflation had positioned the economy in a "sweet spot".
EY had previously predicted growth of 2.9%, but upped its outlook on the back of the growing economic recovery, which is believes is "looking increasingly secure".
It explained the higher levels of employment, but weak wage growth are helping to rebalance the economy by limiting consumption growth, while also supporting investment and exports by holding back interest and exchange rates.
UK house prices drop for first time this year, Rightmove reveals
UK house prices fell for the first time this year in July as stricter rules on mortgage lending curbed the market.
The average asking price for a UK home dropped 0.8% from £272,275 in June to £270,159 in July, according to Rightmove.
The decline was driven by the North and East Midlands, which were both down 1.9%. Prices in London dipped 0.4% as demand slowed in the Capital.
Miners show resilience amid global tensions
Miners Fresnillo and Antofagasta were showing resilience despite the mounting tensions seen in both Russia and Gaza over the past few days.
Retail giant Tesco was up despite this morning unveiling a profit warning after a "challenging" second quarter. Shares gained after investors welcomed the resignation of its boss Philip Clarke, who agreed "this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile". Rivals Morrison and Sainsbury were two of the day's biggest fallers.
ITV climbed after Deutsche Bank upped its target price on the broadcaster from 195p to 205p.
Engineering support services group Babcock was in demand after saying that the new financial year "has started well", with activity levels remaining high.
Meanwhile, housing stocks fell after Rightmove data showed that the average asking price for a UK home dropped for the first time this year. Barratt Developments, Persimmon and Bellway were all significant fallers.
Travel groups have been hit by the global crises, which have pushed oil prices
higher on fears over energy supplies to the West if further sanctions are imposed on Russia.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Fresnillo (FRES) 915.50p +1.61%
Tesco (TSCO) 288.65p +1.28%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 815.50p +1.24%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,390.00p +1.15%
ITV (ITV) 204.30p +0.89%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,943.00p +0.88%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,105.00p +0.79%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 439.10p +0.78%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,108.00p +0.73%
BAE Systems (BA.) 420.00p +0.67%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 354.20p -2.59%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 173.70p -2.42%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,246.00p -2.27%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 323.10p -2.06%
Meggitt (MGGT) 530.50p -2.03%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 318.30p -1.97%
Pearson (PSON) 1,106.00p -1.95%
Carnival (CCL) 2,098.00p -1.92%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,378.00p -1.64%
TUI Travel (TT.) 366.40p -1.53%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Telecity Group (TCY) 784.00p +3.84%
Poundland Group (PLND) 330.10p +3.58%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 165.30p +3.05%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 332.40p +2.72%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 245.70p +2.55%
Soco International (SIA) 412.50p +2.31%
NMC Health (NMC) 450.90p +2.06%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 674.00p +2.04%
Britvic (BVIC) 720.00p +1.98%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 73.45p +1.94%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
ITE Group (ITE) 197.00p -8.37%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 118.60p -3.34%
Bellway (BWY) 1,492.00p -3.12%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 376.60p -2.94%
RPS Group (RPS) 259.60p -2.77%
FirstGroup (FGP) 129.00p -2.64%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 183.70p -2.60%
Rank Group (RNK) 158.80p -2.58%
Greencore Group (GNC) 272.30p -2.54%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 316.70p -2.52%