THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: Footsie falls 46 points

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The FTSE 100 pulled back as poor jobs numbers from Europe suggested the recovery is yet to gain traction on the Continent.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “Markets have failed to recover from the negative sentiment imbedded in traders’ minds following the [Federal Reserve] statement, and with EU unemployment figures unexpectedly heading higher, Europe has given the FTSE no reason to rebound.”

With heavyweight Footsie component Royal Dutch Shell deep in the red after a disappointing quarterly update, London’s top shares index retreated 46.27 points to 6,731.43.

Shell plunged more than 5 per cent, down 117.5p to 2,159.5p, as it blamed weaker refining margins and the impact of disruption in Nigeria for a large fall in third-quarter profits.

But chemicals firm Croda International, which supplies cosmetics giants including L’Oreal and Estee Lauder, was the heaviest top flight faller with a drop of 199p or 7.6 per cent to 2,436p after it warned over factors such as tough economic conditions and unfavourable exchange rates.

Shares in Premier Foods also slid - off 29.5p lower to 150.5p - after sales growth for its frontline brands halved.

BT was among the steepest climbers in the top flight after it said the lure of its Premier League football offering helped it add thousands of broadband customers. Shares were recovered from initial falls to close 7.5p higher at 377p.

Retailers Marks & Spencer and Primark-owner Associated British Foods were also high up the leaderboard ahead of results next week. They built on gains during the prior session, sparked by strong autumn trading at clothing rival Next, with M&S climbing 10.3p to 503.5p and AB Foods adding 45p to 2,267p.