Dividends in key stocks cause 0.2% fall in FTSE in quiet session

<p>A number of heavyweight firms including BP, Royal Dutch Shell and GlaxoSmithKline going ex-dividend took 19 points off the FTSE 100 Index today, forcing it […]</p>

A number of heavyweight firms including BP, Royal Dutch Shell and GlaxoSmithKline going ex-dividend took 19 points off the FTSE 100 Index today, forcing it lower on what otherwise has been a quiet session where traders have paused for breath.

Generally we have seen a lack of investor action today with only individual equity stories triggering some of the more volatile share price movements. The LSE’s deal to acquire with the Toronto Exchange owners TMX Group will take the headlines as the major story of the day. Indeed shareholders appear to have lapped up the news, buying strongly into LSE’s shares, forcing prices as high as 950p, a level not seen since September 2008.

We have also seen traders sell out of Reckitt Benckiser shares after a disappointing fourth quarter earnings whilst CSR shares saw a high degree of buyer demand after reporting figures that beat market expectations.

Traders are have also been pleased to hear Ben Bernanke reaffirm support for the current QE2 programme after stating that US Unemployment remains high and at an uncomfortable level. The Fed Chairman also stated his belief that inflation was low and this triggered dollar weakness and investors into buying sterling, which charged higher to $1.6110 as a result. The sentiment from Ben Bernanke has also lifted equities somewhat in the US and in wider Europe.

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