THE lacklustre mood in world markets continued today as the FTSE 100 Index struggled to break out of its narrow trading range near the 5600 barrier.
The top flight set an 18-month high on Friday but has lacked momentum since then as investors pause for breath after the recent strong run.
With major corporate news also thin on the ground, the FTSE 100 Index slipped 7.3 points to 5595.1 amid poor trading volumes.
Standard Life’s announcement that it had beaten City forecasts with operating profits of £919 million for 2009 failed to kickstart its shares, which added less than a penny to 204.9p.
Elsewhere in the financial sector, Royal Bank of Scotland added 0.9p to 39.9p and Prudential improved 2p to 521.5p.
However, Barclays slipped by more than 1% after newspaper reports said it was working on plans to buy a large retail bank in the United States. Shares fell 3.9p to 341.9p.
Outside the top flight, car dealership Inchcape fell by more than 6% after it said it expected market conditions to remain challenging this year. The group said profits for 2009 fell by less than expected, but this failed to prevent a decline for shares of 1.8p to 27.7p