WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Airlines lifted by EasyJet numbers

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A cheery update from budget carrier EasyJet helped airlines advance on the London market.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group and tour giant Tui Travel were both given a lift as EasyJet said passenger numbers increased 5.4p per cent in October.

Shares in EasyJet climbed 11p to 1,214p, while IAG was 4.7p higher to 349.8p and Tui advanced 8.5p to 383.6p.

Renewed talk of a possible bid from US giant AT&T helped blue chip heavyweight Vodafone move 1 per cent higher, up 2.4p to 230.6p as analysts at Bernstein said there was a 75 per cent chance of a deal.

But trading remained sluggish on the wider FTSE 100 Index, down 5.15 points to close at 6741.69, underperforming its continental peers.

Nick Dale-Lace, senior sales trader at CMC Markets, said: “European stocks rallied to test five-year highs following a strong Asian session, healthy PMI figures from Europe and a raft of positive earnings from major European equities.”

Credit-checking agency Experian took a 6 per cent hit as it said trading conditions remain “subdued” in some emerging markets. The firm also announced a deal to buy a US healthcare payments firm Passport Health Communications for $850 million (£528m), which was not well received by the market. Its shares were 81p lower to 1,182p.

Outside the top tier, Premier Foods was 3 per cent or 4.5p higher to 144.5p as it considered offering a slice of its Hovis business to outside investors in a bid to revive its bread division.

And Moneysupermarket.com was in the money after it said the controversy over rising fuel bills had prompted more people to use its price comparison services. Its shares were up 24.7p at 179.7p, a rise of 16 per cent.