TUESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Footsie clings to small gains

THE London market clung to positive territory after strong results from Sky and ARM Holdings offset a slump in mining stocks.

The London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty
The London Stock Exchange building. Picture: Getty

In an unpredictable session, momentum in the mining ­sector was dented by Rio Tinto revealing a slow start to the year in its iron ore division.

However, robust results in the technology sector meant the FTSE 100 Index closed 10.8 points higher at 7,062.93, despite a poor session for a number of heavyweight stocks.

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Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said London’s leading index “for the moment remains trapped below 7,100”.

“This has not been due to a lack of corporate data however, which has been coming thick and fast from both the UK and US,” he said.

Shares in Alliance Trust dipped by 0.5p to 518p amid reports that wealth manager Tilney Bestinvest was supporting rebel shareholder Elliott Advisors ahead of next week’s annual meeting.

Cambridge-based ARM Holdings did well, rising 45p to 1,195p, as it revealed a 36 per cent rise in first-quarter profits due to strong demand for its technology from the world’s smartphone makers.

But Primark owner Associated British Foods came under pressure after half-year figures and shares fell by 5 per cent, or 151p, to 2,712p.

Among other top flight fallers, Rio Tinto dropped 62p to 2,812p following its trading update and BHP Billiton eased 18.5p to 1,463p. In the financial sector, Barclays fell 2.3p to 255p and Aviva eased 6p to 536p.

Outside the top flight, shares in Carpetright jumped as much as 7 per cent after chief executive Wilf Walsh highlighted progress in the company’s ­turnaround plan.

The Essex-based firm, which has 459 UK stores, said strong trading momentum saw its like-for-like sales jump 10.5 per cent in the 12 weeks to 18 April.