The FTSE 100 treaded water on Thursday as falls among some of London’s biggest fashion retailers were offset by rises in the housebuilding sector.
The index played around the zero mark towards the end of the day. The biggest losers included Next, Burberry and JD Sports.
The FTSE 100 fell 1.66 points, or 0.02%, to end the day at 7,513.72.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, said investors are looking ahead to the upcoming rate decisions from the Bank of England, US Federal Reserve and European Central Bank.
“There was a brief bout of weakness in European stocks today, reflecting some nervousness ahead of next week’s central bank meetings,” he said.
At the end of the day in Europe, Frankfurt’s Dax index fell 0.16% while the Cac 40 in Paris had closed down 0.10%.
“Having shot higher since late October, closing some of the gap in performance versus US indices, a lot of good news looks priced in for the Dax and others,” Mr Beauchamp said.
“It will be a tall order to avoid a post-Fed/BoE/ECB hangover descending on markets just as investors turn their thoughts towards Christmas.”
In New York, a little while after markets had closed in Europe the S&P 500 had gained 0.72% while the Dow Jones was 0.08% higher.
The pound dropped 0.1% to 1.1649 euros and rose 0.1% to 1.2573 dollars.
The tiny move on the FTSE 100 hid major swings in the stocks of some companies.
Vertu Motors saw the value of its shares close at their lowest level since June after a 23% fall sparked by a profit warning.
The company said the price of cars on the second-hand market was falling at record speeds, eating into its profitability.
Meanwhile, shares in Smart Metering Systems closed up 41%, reaching close to the company’s all-time high in 2021.
It came after KKR, the US private equity giant, tabled a £1.3 billion bid for the Glasgow-based installer of energy-saving devices.
A third big move for the day came from publisher Bloomsbury, up 7% after revealing sales of fantasy books had shot up.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Severn Trent, up 65p to 2,721p, Intercontinental Hotels Group, up 150p to 6,590p, Pershing Square, up 64p to 3,240p, Barratt Developments, up 10.2p to 542p, and Taylor Wimpey, up 2.45p to 137.1p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Vodafone, down 2.39p to 69.8p, IAG, down 3.8p to 158.1p, Burberry, down 33p to 1,481p, Standard Chartered, down 13.4p to 650p, and JD Sports, down 2.85p to 165.8p.