WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Apple’s stellar update shines on Arm

After some initial excitement equities slipped into a narrow trading range as investors waited for direction ahead of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

Despite spending much of the day in the red, the FTSE 100 managed to close 14.33 points higher at 6,825.94.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Economic data has been relatively thin on the ground and the volatility we saw off the back of the Greek election at the start of the week has ebbed away too.”

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The previous night’s blockbuster update from Apple in the US gave British chip designer Arm a boost. The firm, which supplies many of the world’s smartphone manufacturers, added 18p at 1,049p.

And credit checking firm Experian was in demand after it proved its own financial health by announcing a share buyback programme.

The stock climbed 19p to 1,184p as it also pledged to increase its dividend in line with, or ahead of, its profits.

The biggest blue-chip riser was drinks giant SABMiller, with traders citing valuation grounds for the stock’s otherwise unexplained froth. The brewer added more than 4 per cent, up 158.5p at 3,594.5p.

Among the fallers, sustainable technologies firm Johnson Matthey dropped 3 per cent after it said the recent plunge in oil prices had affected investment decisions in the chemicals industry.

Third-quarter sales rose 5 per cent and the company said it was on track to deliver full-year results slightly ahead of last year, but shares still fell 112p to 3,385p.

On the Alternative Investment Market, online fashion retailer Asos provided a bumper payday for chief executive Nicholas Robertson as he cashed in more than £20 million-worth of shares. Aim’s largest company closed 20p lower at 2,625p.