FTSE recovers to close up 14.3

Enthusiasm for blue-chip stocks was evident in London today despite concerns over UK inflation and a disappointing start to trading on Wall Street.

Enthusiasm for blue-chip stocks was evident in London today despite concerns over UK inflation and a disappointing start to trading on Wall Street.

The FTSE 100 Index recovered from a lunchtime dip to close 14.3 points higher at 4898.5 on the back of positive news in the pubs sector and a major deal by directories group Yell.

Investors were upbeat even though the Consumer Prices Index was unchanged at 1.9% in April, adding to the case for a further interest rate hike.

In London, Yellow Pages owner Yell was the second highest top flight climber after unveiling a deal for a leading directories publisher in California and Texas. The stock rose more than 4% or 17.25p to 415p as it also reported a 12% rise in annual underlying earnings.

Airports operator BAA was also in the black, advancing more than 1% or 9p to 612p as it posted a forecast-beating 18.8% hike in annual profits after a record number of passengers used its airports.

But news that Marks & Spencer has appointed a new chairman to replace Paul Myners failed to please investors. Shares weakened a penny to 325p after M&S.

Biggest risers were Schroders up 38.5p at 727p, Yell Group 17.25p ahead at 415p, Schroders NV up 22p to 669p and British Airways rising 7.75p at 268.25p.

Biggest fallers included William Hill, down 19p to 491.5p, Antofagasta weakening 16p to 1061p, Tate & Lyle falling 6.5p to 477p and Old Mutual shedding 1.5p to 122p.

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