The Footsie managed to keep its head above water despite further headwinds in the airline sector and a broker downgrade that put miners on the back foot.
Morgan Stanley said Anglo American’s share price was looking demanding after recent rises. The stock was down more than 3 per cent at 1,418p, with peer Rio Tinto suffering a similar decline, to 3,058p, as the broker also cut its forecast for iron ore prices over the next five years.
But with oil stocks on the up, the FTSE 100 edged 4.24 points higher to 6,843.11.
Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC, said: “The spike in oil prices resulting from the problems in Iraq helped oil and gas shares, with Shell and BG Group both higher.”
BG Group added 31p at 1,265p and Shell climbed 16.5p to 2,483.5p, amid news that insurgents had captures Iraq’s biggest oil refinery.
Also on the risers’ board was broadcaster ITV, which jumped 2 per cent on the back of an upbeat note from analysts at Liberum Capital. They said ITV’s World Cup advertising prospects look to be better than expected and that shares are also attractive on a longer-term basis.
ITV was 2.8p higher at 179.4p, while rival BSkyB added 7.5p to 876p and sports broadcasting challenger BT lifted 1 per cent or 3.4p to 397.3p.
British Airways owner IAG remained under pressure as Aer Lingus became the second among its peers to issue a profits warning this week. IAG shares dipped a further 8.8p to 391.2p, on top of the 3 per cent decline seen on Wednesday when germany’s Lufthansa was the culprit.
Discount retailer B&M attracted a premium on its first day of conditional trading. After floating at 270p, the shares touched 291p at one point before settling at 285p.