UK stocks : FTSE 100 closes up 0.3 pct
Early exit polls suggesting a healthy lead for a centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani in both houses of parliament were confounded by projections based on early vote counts suggesting that Silvio Berlusconi's anti-austerity centre-right coalition was leading in the Senate.
Such a result would make a governing coalition difficult to form.
Britain's top share index lost one percent in under an hour in afternoon trade, turning a 0.9 percent gain at its peak shortly after 1500 GMT to a 0.2 percent fall at its trough around 1600 GMT after the first projections showed a centre-right majority in the Senate.
"The story of the afternoon is that sell-off after the numbers showed that Berlusconi is doing well, and that's taken the gloss off of what was a very strong day up to that point." Johnny Keaney, sales trader at Knight Capital, said.
The market recovered to finish in positive territory, aided by subsequent projection from IPR that said the centre-left was ahead in the Senate race.
The FTSE 100 closed up 19.67 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,355.37, with initial gains being made on hopes of both centre-left success at the Italian elections as well as further monetary easing from Japan and the U.S.
Sectors which rise and fall with economic sentiment, such as banks, miners and energy companies - the so-called "cyclical"
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