FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Carnival cruises on rising FTSE tide

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Cruise operator Carnival was among the biggest blue chip risers as brokers got on board following its better-than-expected numbers.

The shares added more than 3 per cent, up 77p at 2,389p, in the wake of its improved earnings guidance earlier in the week and upgrades from a number of analysts.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “After the choppy waters experienced in the first half of the year, it looks like it’s now plain sailing for Carnival following the release of its fourth-quarter figures.”

The wider FTSE 100 also remained in buoyant mood as it ended its first positive week since early November. The index added a further 21.88 points to close at 6,606.58.

The biggest top-flight faller was BAE Systems, as investors had a chance to react to news that an expected Eurofighter contract with the United Arab Emirates has fallen through, while protracted discussions with Saudi Arabia are yet to draw to a conclusion. Shares in the firm, which made the announcement after the market had closed on Thursday, dropped 4.5 per cent to 422.1p.

Some miners were also on the back foot amid concerns over another credit crunch in China, after short-term rates spiked to 7.5 per cent despite the Chinese central bank injecting emergency liquidity into the system.

Anglo American was 22p lower at 1,261p, while Randgold Resources was down 46p at 3,765p as concerns about falling gold and silver prices also weighed on the sector.

However other diggers benefited from the more positive attitude to risk since the US Federal Reserve’s mild taper was taken as a sign of confidence in the global recovery. Vedanta Resources was 5 per cent higher at 848.5p as the price of copper rose.