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FTSE slips; HSBC falls on higher costs

Britain’s FTSE 100 wavers as market closes with investors awaiting outcome of German vote on Greece’s latest bailout.

 
FTSE slips; HSBC falls on higher costs

Britain’s FTSE fell lower as investors waited to see if German politicians would give their approval to the latest Greek bailout. The package was approved with a strong majority in the Bundestag shortly after markets closed.

The benchmark UK index of blue-chip shares slid 0.33%, or 19 points, to 5,916 and the Mid-250 index dropped 0.48%, or 45 points, to 11,472.

HSBC (HSBA.L) slid 21.4p, or 3.7%, to 553.5p as investors were wary of its increased banking costs in emerging markets. Earlier today HSBC posted pre-tax profits of $21.9 billion in 2011.

However, the bank saw a $1 billion, or 10%, increase in its wages in Brazil, China and other emerging markets where it makes most of its profits. Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said the increase will make it tough for the bank to meet its cost-reduction targets in 2013. See the FTSE’s performance and the markets top winners and losers.

Markets await LTRO uptake

Markets traded cautiously ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB)'s long-term refinancing operation (LTRO), which will be launched on Wednesday.

The operation should boost liquidity by giving hundreds of billions of euros in cheap loans to European banks, though the impact on the market remains to be seen.

Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads, said: ‘The reason for the timidity is that this week we have another round of the ECB’s LTRO to be announced and expectations are for a further boost to liquidity. 

'The first round of the LTRO proved successful in avoiding a credit crunch, and we can expect demand to be high again as investors find the prospect of cheap cash which can be invested in high-yielding short-term Spanish and Italian debt too good to be true.’

Other stock markets in Europe also traded in negative territory: Germany’s DAX index shed 0.33% to 6,850, France's CAC 40 index dropped 0.74% to 3,442, and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares lost 0.26% to 1,074.

Fresh figures stateside indicated that home sales increased 2%, ahead of expectations of a 1.1% rise.  

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