The FTSE 100 has ended the day practically unchanged with a small rise of 0.10 points to 5460.90, after mortgage lenders fell at signs of a slowdown in the housing market.
HBOS, the UK's No.4 bank, lost 1.2% to 878p, while Northern Rock, the eighth-largest, declined 0.8% to 810.5p, after the government reported house prices in England and Wales increased at the slowest annual rate in almost a decade.
Associated British Foods also dropped 12.5p, or 1.5%, to 804p, after the maker of Twinings teas said annual profit dropped 2.6% as the company spent money to expand its Primark discount-clothing chain and prepare for acquisitions.
Meanwhile Yell rose 1.6% to 477.25p, its eighth straight gain, after saying first half profit rose 18% to £711m, boosted by new US directories and its UK website.
Cable & Wireless, Britain's No. 2 phone company, also added 1.9% to 121p, after saying it had resumed a £250m stock buyback plan and boosted a first-half dividend by 21%.
In the US stocks have got off to a poor start as the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 28.66 points, or 0.27%, to 10,557.57, after a disappointing forecast from Toll Brothers sent shares of homebuilders tumbling.
Toll, the country’s largest builder of luxury homes, has dropped $4.81, or 12%, to $34.60, after the company reduced its sales forecast for next year to 6.9%, citing regulatory delays in opening new communities, construction backlogs and an easing of demand in some markets.
D.R. Horton, the second-biggest builder by market value, has fallen $2.68, or 7.9%, to $31.07, while KB Home, the fifth-biggest, has dropped $3.60 to $63.85.
Shares of Freddie Mac have also declined, falling $1.10 to $60.14, as the second-biggest source of money for US residential mortgages lowered its first-half 2005 profit by $220m to correct errors in calculating interest on mortgage-backed securities. The company blamed the mistake on a computer error.
Meanwhile Exxon Mobil is currently leading the rising stocks with a gain of $0.57, or 1%, to $57.38, closely followed by SBC Communications which has risen $0.20, or 0.85%, to $23.61.IFAonline
Putting the tech into protection
Square Mile’s series of informal interviews
Fallout from Haywood suspension
Launching later in 2019
£80bn funds under calculation