City unfazed by slower service sector

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The London market shrugged off the latest disappointing purchasing managers’ index yesterday but took little cheer from the smattering of business-friendly titbits in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The main focus of investor attention was guidance on the UK economy from Chancellor George Osborne. A shock-free update saw equities trade in a tight range throughout.”

Stocks on the Alternative Investment Market showed little reaction to news of a consultation on their possible inclusion in tax-free ISAs, a move that would improve liquidity for London’s smallest stocks.

The FTSE 100 Index managed a late push on the back of a strong opening for US markets, adding 23 points to close at 5,892.1. Miners propped up the top flight as worries receded over whether US political leaders will reach a budget deal before the end of the year. Kazakhmys topped the risers’ board, up 4 per cent, or 26.5p, to 740.5p, while Anglo American was 43p higher at 1,780p and Rio Tinto added 95.5p to 3,226p.

Tesco was another big riser as investors breathed a sigh of relief after chief executive Philip Clarke signalled a review of the grocer’s disastrous US venture. Its shares jumped 10.8p to 337.5p, a rise of 3.3 per cent.

Outside the top flight, transport group Stagecoach was 6 per cent higher, up 17.1p to 308.7p, after reporting a 39 per cent rise in half-year profits.

And shares in Scottish distribution and aviation services group John Menzies cheered 2p at 599p after it renewed a five-year deal with Marketforce, securing £122 million of annual sales revenue.

NEW YORK: A volatile trading session ended with US stocks mostly higher last night, even as Apple, the most valuable US company, suffered its worst day of losses in nearly four years.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 82.71 points, or 0.64 per cent, to end at 13,034.49 while the S&P 500 rose 2.23 points, or 0.16 per cent, to finish the day at 1,409.28. But the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 22.99 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 2,973.70 as Apple’s stock fell 6.4 per cent to $538.79, its largest daily percentage drop since December 2008.