Greece returns to the spotlight

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is offside as political strains surrounding Greece are on the rise again.

Alexis Tsipras
Source: Bloomberg

Athens is dragging its heels over reforms and patience is running low in Brussels. The Greek government is pushing the envelope with its creditors and the market is scared by the prospect of another long drawn-out debt negotiation. The European Central Bank’s government bond-buying scheme is being overshadowed by Greece, and if Athens keeps pushing its creditors around it may receive a rap on the knuckles. 

Shares in Prudential are lower after news that CEO Tidjane Thiam is stepping down to take the top job at Credit Suisse. However, Mr Thiam is leaving the company on a positive note as the life insurer revealed 14% increase in full-year operating profit. The changes to individual annuity laws hit the sector hard, but Prudential saw bulk annuities sales go up six-fold and the profits increased at the asset management arm.

Cairn Energy is coming under pressure as the low price of oil and dwindling cash reserves has forced the oil explorer to become more selective as to where it drills. The company has put a project off the coast of Ireland on hold to focus on a previously prosperous well in Senegal. The oil explorer has had to take fewer rolls of the dice, and this is putting pressure on the share price.

G4S has swung back to profit as earnings in South America compensated for flat business in the UK, and the asset stripping of European businesses aided the security company back to profit.

Across the pond we are expecting the Dow Jones to open lower as the Greek situation is back in the centre stage.

US index futures posted a triple-digit loss this morning as tensions arose between Greece and the ECB, as the indebted nation is accused of wasting creditors' time. 

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