WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Super Mario rides to rescue markets

The European Central Bank (ECB) helped markets regain some of their poise as it vowed to shore up the economy far into the future.
President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi. Picture: APPresident of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi. Picture: AP
President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi. Picture: AP

The FTSE 100 recovered from two days of decline with a late rally that saw it close 30.19 points higher at 6,706.27.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Shares in Europe managed to stem the tide of selling that began the week, taking their direction from a strong rally in Shanghai despite disappointing European economic and corporate data after [ECB president] Mario Draghi vowed to keep monetary policy accommodative.”

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The performance of the top flight was lifted by a rebound for heavily-weighted mining stocks. They were higher for the second session in a row after economic figures from China proved less alarming than had been feared.

BHP Billiton was the strongest riser in the top flight, up 56p to 1,797.5p, while silver miner Fresnillo lifted 16.5p to 775.5p and Rio Tinto was 74.5p higher at 3,182.5p.

Mobile phone giant Vodafone also offered support to the market with a gain of 5.6p to 204.3p, amid a further bout of vague speculation about its potential as a bid target.

But Royal Mail fell 2 per cent or 9.7p to 414.4p after Dutch parcel delivery firm TNT Express issued a profits warning due to tough trading conditions in Europe. The alert spooked investors as the UK company’s General Logistics Systems business is one of the largest ground-based parcel delivery service providers in Europe.

Royal Bank of Scotland was little changed after it cut the sale price for the flotation of its US regional bank Citizens. The taxpayer-backed bank has still raised some £1.8 billion, and shares recovered from a poor start to close up 4.2p at 362.1p.