THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: US optimism helps FTSE make gains

The FTSE 100 managed some modest gains in the afternoon session after a positive start on Wall Street helped make up for disappointing domestic figures.

News that business investment had fallen despite the strengthening recovery capped the index’s gains at 14.06 points, as it closed at 6,565.59.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “It has very much been a day of two halves, with fear dominating the morning session until US optimism dragged the FTSE back out of the red.”

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The worst performers in the UK were once again the energy companies after this week’s pledge by Labour leader Ed Miliband to impose price controls on the energy companies if he is elected in 2015. SSE was down 2 per cent at 1,460p and Centrica slipped 2.3 per cent to 366.9p.

Shares in Tui, Europe’s biggest tour operator, advanced 14p to 370.4p after it said annual operating profits would grow by at least 11 per cent, compared with its prior guidance of 10 per cent.

But rival Thomas Cook was under pressure on the FTSE 250 Index after reporting a slow start to its winter season and a sluggish finish to the summer due to political uncertainty in the Middle East and warm weather in Europe. Investors took flight, sending its shares down nearly 7 per cent or 10.3p to 145.3p.

Betting shop chain Ladbrokes was another of the FTSE 250’s biggest fallers, slumping nearly 8 per cent after it warned digital profits would be a long way short of hopes. Shares in the group, which has some 2,700 shops, fell 14.3p to 173.8p.

Rival William Hill, which has thrown millions at its online and mobile betting business and could be a beneficiary from Ladbrokes’ woes, gained a little ground, advancing by 2.4p to 406.9p.