Thursday market close: Top flight struggles to gain traction

London Stock Exchange building
London Stock Exchange building
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London’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index struggled for direction amid the release of a raft of gloomy global factory data.

The index closed just 10.86 points higher at 6,072.47, following a 150-plus points rise in the previous session, as global equity volatility shows little sign of abating. It had suffered its worst quarterly performance in four years.

Disappointing manufacturing data from the UK, the eurozone, China and the US weighed on confidence though there were some decent risers.

Alastair McCaig, senior market analyst at IG, said: “Following the worst quarterly performance by the FTSE for the last four years, traders have got off to a mildly optimistic start with a combination of mining, oil and gas companies pulling the index higher.”

Oil stocks were on the up, with BP rising 8.3p at 342.3p and Royal Dutch Shell climbing 38p to 1,601p.

Chemicals giant Johnson Matthey was also a solid riser, up 20p to 2,468p after it confirmed the completion of the sale of its Alfa Aesar Research Chemicals business to US rival Thermo Fisher Scientific for £256 million in cash.

Johnson Matthey said the disposal would allow it to focus on growth areas of its business.

Among the biggest fallers in the top flight were Centrica down 7.7p at 221.5p and Morrisons, off 4.5p at 161.6p.