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LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Rebound As Markets Mull Greece

05/15/2012 | 04:58am US/Eastern

By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch)--U.K. stocks inched higher on Tuesday, rebounding slightly from the prior session's sharp drop, amid freshened concerns over what a Greece exit from the euro zone could mean for the markets.

At last check, the FTSE 100 was up fractionally at 5,488 points.

A day earlier, the index shed 2% after last-ditch attempts to form a coalition government in Greece stumbled over the weekend.

That sparked another batch of fears that the country won't be able to push through with austerity reforms it promised in exchange for a bailout agreed in March.

"This latest Hellenic national anti-incumbent swing," according to Barclays Capital analyst Edmund Shind, "has returned Euroland to a state of political flux over continued efforts to reduce burgeoning public debt burdens, and has revived the existential question of the euro's continued existence, at least in its present form."

Leading advancers in the FTSE, shares of security firm G4S PLC rose almost 3% while Hargreaves Lansdown PLC and Carnival PLC both tacked on more than 1%.

The biggest losers in the group were International Consolidated Airlines Group , down almost 3%, and Experian PLC , off more than 1%.

J.P. Morgan cut its rating on IAG to neutral from overweight, saying that the recent rally in the share price has made its peers, like top pick Lufthansa, more attractive.

On the banking front, which is particularly susceptible to tensions in the euro zone, Barclays PLC (BCS) shares failed to find their footing, extending the prior session's loss with a slight decline.

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