Byline: Rob Davies
THE City's stock pickers must be fans of Monty Python. The time-honoured comedy show had a marvellous sketch of a Greece versus Germany football match with two teams composed entirely of philosophers.
Unsurprisingly, most of the game is taken up by argument and counter-argument rather than neat one-touch passing.
Michael Palin, on commentary duty, describes the turmoil after Socrates scores the only goal of the game only for George 'Nobby' Hegel to dispute the call with referee Confucius on the grounds that 'reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics'.
Greece and Germany will indeed face off against one another in Euro 2012. But despite a defeat for the anti-bailout parties, markets fear that the inaction and philosophising common to both the European Union and the Python sketch are unlikely to dissipate.
Some in the City were hoping for a much- needed relief rally and they got one early doors, on the back of the election result.
But it all happened a bit too quickly to be sustained and it didn't take long for the enthusiasm to fade away. Traders expect Greece to leave at some point and the election result has delayed that. Meanwhile, the twin ogres of Spain and Italy lurk just around the corner.
Foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp pointed out that one swallow doesn't make a summer.
'Desperately uncompetitive and with scant prospects for growth, Greece's economy remains just as much of a train wreck as before,' they said.
'The long-running Greek tragedy has merely reached the interval.'
Banks were the big losers again, surrendering much of the gains they made on liquidity measures unveiled last week by George Osborne. Royal Bank of Scotland the worst of the lot, down 12.3p to 235.3p. Lloyds followed closely behind, off 1.14p at 30.16p, while even Standard Chartered, with its strength in the growth markets of Asia, shed 24p to finish at 1368.5p. With miners also on the wane, gains elsewhere were erased to leave the FTSE100 up a limp 12.28 points to 5491.09.
The Dow Jones was down 18.99 at 12748.18 in later trading.
With the eyes of football fans trained firmly on Poland and Ukraine, things are buzzing back at Wembley. Quintain Estates, which is developing the miserable tracts of wasteland …