FTSE 100 flat despite rises for BT and retailers

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The UK's leading share index closed all but flat on Thursday, after a choppy day.

The FTSE 100 ended down 3.71 points at 7,413.22.

BT was the biggest riser on the index, up 4% after UK broker Numis gave the telecoms company a "buy" rating.

Retail shares were in demand after strong results from French supermarket Casino lifted shares in the sector across Europe. Marks and Spencer rose 3.6% while Next was up 2.2%.

But shares in drugs giant AstraZeneca fell 3.6% following a report on the Calcalist financial news website that its chief executive, Pascal Soriot, is to leave to company to join Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Outside the FTSE 100, shares in Game Digital initially jumped 15% after Mike Ashley's Sports Direct announced it had bought a 26% stake in the company. But through the day it shed most of that to end up 3%.

There was some brief respite for building and services firm Carillion whose shares have been battered in recent days after it warned on Monday that its annual sales would not meet expectations.

Its shares were up 10% at about 63p, still down by more than half since the start of the week.

But all of that and more evaporated and it closed down 3%.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.3% against the dollar to $1.2923, and was 0.5% higher against the euro at 1.135 euros.