Improving news from Europe and rumours that Spain was finally preparing to ask for a bail-out helped the bulls re-gain the advantage late on yesterday.
The FTSE 100 index had been up to 50 points lower during the morning, prompting analysts to speak of a “wider correction”. But reports that Germany is set to offer more money to struggling Greece, and the surprising news that the latter had managed to raise €4 billion (£3.2bn) helped the Footsie close 19 points higher at 5,786.3.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “These two pieces of good news seem to have steadied the ship for now, with markets recovering lost ground.”
Financial stocks benefited from the brighter European outlook, with Lloyds once again leading the way with a 3 per cent gain. At 46.5p, its shares have already exceeded the upwardly revised target UBS placed on them on Monday.
Shares in ITV surged 9 per cent at 94.6p after it announced much better than expected results for the third quarter.
Utilities were out of favour following revelations that the City watchdog is investigating claims by a whistleblower that Britain’s £300bn wholesale gas market has been manipulated.
Shares in Centrica, which insisted it has robust governance and compliance procedures, were 8.8p lower at 310.8p, while SSE declined 12p to 1,383p ahead of interim results due today. The sector was also affected by German electricity and gas supplier E.ON, which lowered its earnings forecast for next year.
Anglo American was also lower due to continued delays on its iron ore mining project in Brazil, which are pushing up its costs in that region. Shares were down 3 per cent at 1,770p.
NEW YORK: A slide in shares of Microsoft pressured US stocks last night, though retailers were a notable bright spot after Home Depot said prospects for housing have improved in coming quarters.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 58.90 points, or 0.46 per cent, to end the day at 12,756.18 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 5.50 points, or 0.40 per cent, to finish at 1,374.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 20.37 points, or 0.70 per cent, at 2,883.89.