London close: FTSE 100 heads south as UK votes on 'blockbuster' Thursday
The FTSE 100 was weaker at the close as the UK voted in the snap election called by PM Theresa May, and traders worked their way through a full platter of US and European news on so-called 'blockbuster' Thursday.
The market was keenly attuned to the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy meeting early this afternoon, and also to testimony before a Sentate committee from former FBI boss James Comey.
The ECB stood pat on rates, while the market appeared to have decided there was no smoking gun to be found in Comey's testimony about Russia's alleged involvement in the US presidential election.
At the close of trade, the FTSE 100 was down 0.38% to 7.449.98, while the FTSE 250 was up 0.24% to 19,743.41. It was still far too early to divine the outcome of the UK election.
Key indices in continental Europe were ahead, while Wall St was mostly tending higher.
"The FTSE 100 is sliding today as dealers are concerned about the UK general election," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, was pleased at the distraction provided by ECB President Mario Draghi.
"At least we have him to distract us from the ennui caused for market watchers by the UK's polling day, when the frenetic activity of the past six weeks fades away and we are left simply to wait," said Beauchamp.
In addition to holding rates, the ECB added that it expected them to remain at present levels for an extended period of time, removing the reference to a possibility of lowering.
However, the ECB reiterated that, if necessary, it stood ready to increase the size of its quantitative easing programme.
"QE remains, and it is the knowledge that this is unchanged which is helping eurozone stocks to hold their ground," said Beauchamp.
Madden continued: "The Dax and Cac are outperforming their London equivalent as the ECB chief, Mario Draghi, downgraded the inflation forecast for the region over the next three years.
"A leak yesterday stated he would, but the lowering of the CPI forecast for next year from 1.6% to 1.3% was a particularly big cut."
To all of this, Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, added that nothing had materialised to deliver on the potential for "triple threat" Thursday.
In corporate news, Vodafone, Johnson Matthey, WPP were all weaker as their stock went ex-dividend. Wolseley was hit by a note from UBS.
Gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo retreated with the price of the yellow metal, but their multi-commodity peers were generally higher after Glencore and Rio Tinto.
Further weight was provided by consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and retails stocks, while to the plus side it was property, utilities and banks doing well.
Broadcaster ITV was a standout gainer following comments by chief executive officer Adam Crozier at an FT conference in London.
Crozier said ITV was arguably undervalued given short-term ad issues. He added a buyout was not inevitable and the company should continue its current strategy.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Ashtead Group (AHT) 1,640.00p 3.02%
Glencore (GLEN) 288.90p 2.08%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,224.00p 1.82%
Next (NXT) 4,352.00p 1.54%
Centrica (CNA) 198.80p 1.43%
ITV (ITV) 186.20p 1.25%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,062.50p 1.19%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,183.00p 1.07%
SSE (SSE) 1,492.00p 1.02%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 590.00p 0.94%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 218.00p -4.80%
WPP (WPP) 1,631.00p -2.68%
Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,547.00p -2.19%
Diageo (DGE) 2,285.00p -1.93%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,495.00p -1.90%
Unilever (ULVR) 4,269.00p -1.69%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,852.00p -1.55%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 5,507.00p -1.36%
Barclays (BARC) 205.40p -1.32%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,317.00p -1.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Berendsen (BRSN) 1,229.00p 11.02%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 184.20p 5.35%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 499.70p 4.63%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 363.40p 4.13%
Workspace Group (WKP) 909.50p 3.76%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,180.00p 3.52%
Marshalls (MSLH) 409.00p 3.07%
Hays (HAS) 168.50p 3.06%
esure Group (ESUR) 277.70p 3.04%
OneSavings Bank (OSB) 420.10p 2.84%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 1,840.00p -33.45%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 301.60p -3.33%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 418.50p -3.06%
Booker Group (BOK) 191.10p -2.95%
Assura (AGR) 62.00p -2.29%
Cobham (COB) 130.60p -2.25%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 582.00p -2.18%
Redefine International (RDI) 38.62p -2.00%
Polymetal International (POLY) 983.00p -1.99%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 126.10p -1.87%