* FTSE 100 index little changed
* Capita gains after strong results
* BHP Billiton up on positive output update
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, July 23 Britain's top share index
steadied on Wednesday, as tensions between the West and Russia
and the conflict in Gaza made investors cautious, although
Capita and BHP Billiton saw strong gains.
Outsourcing group Capita, which runs services from
the Ministry of Defence pension scheme to police radio systems,
rose 3 percent after posting an 11 percent rise in first-half
Global miner BHP Billiton gained 1 percent after
beating its own guidance for full-year iron ore output and
seeing productivity gains across a number of businesses.
Capita was the top gainer on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index
but the benchmark was flat at 6,797.01 points by 0809
"Geopolitical tensions are preventing a better market
development in Europe. Markets will be dominated by
consolidation moves due to the uncertainty, combined with high
valuations," UniCredit strategist Christian Stocker said.
Investors avoided strong bets due to geopolitical concerns,
with the EU raising the prospect of restricting Russian access
to European capital markets, defence and energy technology, and
due to the conflict in Gaza, where Israeli forces pounded
Catalyst maker Johnson Matthey fell 2.4 percent
after saying its first quarter underlying operating profit fell
by 11 percent.
Energy firm SSE and London Stock Exchange
dropped 3.2 percent and 1 percent respectively after going
ex-dividend. They knocked a combined 2.5 points off the FTSE 100
(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Susan Fenton)