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FTSE drifts as investors await LTRO loan figures

by Caelainn Barr on Feb 29, 2012 at 09:21

FTSE drifts as investors await LTRO loan figures

Britain’s FTSE gave a muted performance as investors awaited the results of more cheap loans for European banks.

The FTSE 100 slipped 0.02%, or one point, to 5,927 and the Mid-250 index slipped 0.21%, or 24 points, to 11,505.

Broadcaster ITV (ITV.L) topped the FTSE 100 to add 5.9p, or 7.3%, to 86.4p as it reported a 14% increase in profit before tax of £327 million in 2011. The figures beat forecasts, assuaging worries about reduced advertising revenues. See the FTSE’s performance and the index’s top winners and losers.

Investors await LTRO figures

The results of the European Central Bank (ECB)'s long term refinancing operation (LTRO) will show how much European banks requested to bolster their balance sheets.

Cheap loans will be given for three years to banks at a rate of 1% to improve cash flow in the European banking system and avoid a credit crunch.

The previous tranche of LTRO last December saw banks take up €498 billion in extra funding and is credited with contributing to the new-year market rally. The latest results of the LTRO are due to be announced at 10.00 GMT.

Other stock markets in Europe also made cautious gains: Germany’s DAX index added 0.67% to 6,933, France's CAC 40 index took on 0.62% to 3,475, and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares added 0.39% to 1,080.

European bond yields narrowed ahead of the results of the lending. The yield on Italian two-year bonds fell 16 basis points to 2.32%.

Stocks in Asia overnight put in a mixed performance: China’s Shanghai Index slipped 0.97% to 2,428, Japan’s Nikkei 225 took on 0.1% to 9,723, the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index pipped up 0.24% to 21,620.

Sterling added 0.16% against the dollar to $1.5927, and took on 0.19% against the euro to €1.1834.

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