Mining stocks were back in demand amid a rebound in metals prices, although the wider market traded sideways as inflation remained close to zero for the second month running.
Glasgow engineering group Weir led the blue-chip risers, surging 91p, or 5.1 per cent, to 1,880p after a strong gain in the price of iron ore shipments for industrial powerhouse China.
Elsewhere in the mining sector, Anglo American gained 40.8p to 1,039.5p – an increase of 4.1 per cent – while rival BHP Billiton ended the day 43.5p higher at 1,459.5p.
Despite these gains, the FTSE 100 Index only managed to climb 10.96 points to 7,075.26 as the market struggled to find a sense of direction.
Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Both UK inflation and US retail sales have fallen slightly short of expectations and although this again pushes back the idea of any quick rate hikes on either side of the Atlantic, the resulting move was more pronounced in terms of the respective currencies rather than lending any further support to stocks.”
Aberdeen Asset Management was among the heaviest top-flight fallers, down 12.7p or 2.5 per cent at 493.8p, after the fund manager was hit by an Indian tax demand.
Private hospital operator Spire Healthcare was left nursing a fall of 37.1p, or 10.1 per cent, to 333p after buyout firm and major shareholder Cinven sold more than 40 million shares in the business at 340p each. Cinven retains a 38.3 per cent stake.
Aim-quoted Insulation maker Superglass gained 0.12p, or 3.5 per cent, to 3.75p after Scottish boutique investor Hamilton Portfolio announced the acquisition of a 4.15 per cent strategic holding in the Stirling firm. Andrew Lapping, managing director of Hamilton, said the private equity house was making a “strong commitment to the future of Superglass”.