FTSE 100 progress halted as energy shares fall

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(Close): Brent crude futures fell over $4 dollars on Thursday hitting a low at one point of $71.25 after a meeting of the Opec oil cartel ended with a decision not to cut production.

That boosted some companies likely to benefit from lower costs but weighed on energy companies.

Shares in BG Group dropped 5.98%. Tullow Oil was down 7.2%.

At the close, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 5.57 points or 0.09% at 6723.42.

Easyjet shares were up 5.7% and shares in other travel companies also benefited from the fall in oil prices.

Earlier in the day shares in transport group Stagecoach jumped after the company's joint venture with Virgin was awarded the franchise to run the East Coast mainline rail route. Stagecoach closed the day 8.2% higher.

The consortium - which is 90% owned by Stagecoach - will pay the government around £3.3bn for the contract.

Shares in FirstGroup - one of the unsuccessful bidders for the rail franchise - fell more than 5% at first, but then recovered to end the day 1.94% higher.

Poundland shares rose 2% after the retailer reported a 12% rise in half-year profits, with like-for-like sales up 4.7%.

On the currency markets, the pound fell 0.46% against the dollar to $1.572 and was also lower against the euro at €1.2598