The London market bounced back from earlier losses today triggered by concerns surrounding the sovereign debt crisis in Ireland.
The FTSE 100 Index opened in the red as concerns grew that Ireland may soon be forced to apply to Europe for emergency funds, but clawed its way back and closed in positive territory – up 23 points to 5820.4.
Irish fears weakened the euro against the pound, which was up against the single currency at 1.17.
But caution ahead of tomorrow’s UK inflation figures saw sterling drop against the dollar at 1.60.
Among stocks, miner BHP Billiton reclaimed early losses after last night’s decision to pull its $39bn (€28bn) hostile bid for Potash Corporation after failing to secure the Canadian government’s approval. Shares in BHP rose 43.5p to 2406p as investors digested the news.
Lonmin was another miner in focus today after the group – the world’s third-biggest platinum producer – posted results revealing a swing back to full-year profits, sending shares up 71p to 1838p.
Engineering firm Invensys was top of the Footsie risers, up 7%, after its chief executive was quoted in a newspaper saying that a deal with Chinese rail group CSR was possible. Shares lifted 29.1p to 347.9p despite the group denying offer talks.
Rolls-Royce saw its shares fall 2.3% or 14p to 597p after reports emerged that it will temporarily replace entire engines suffering from oil leaks on Airbus A380s.
The company has taken a pounding on the stock exchange in the last week after a Qantas superjumbo, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines, was forced into an emergency landing between Sydney and Singapore.
In the second tier, Sportingbet rose 8% or 4.9p to 63.3p after it confirmed it was in discussions following reports at the weekend it was looking at a merger with Swedish rival Unibet to create a £600m (€708m) group.
Pork producer Cranswick was another seeing share gains – up 39p to 825p – after the FTSE 250 firm’s first half figures cheered investors, with Panmure Gordon also upping its rating on the group.
But housebuilders were hit in the FTSE 250 following a gloomy report from property website Rightmove that revealed asking prices fell by 3.2% in the four weeks to November 6.
Taylor Wimpey was the biggest faller in the sector, down 1p to 24.9p, followed by Barratt Developments, off 2.4p to 76.9p.
Persimmon, which released a trading update, was also under pressure with a 2.9p fall to 357.3p.
It said it failed to see the traditional autumn pick-up, although it assured that sales had remained stable.
The biggest Footsie risers were Invensys up 29.1p at 347.9p, Lonmin ahead 71p at 1838p, Weir Group up 61p at 1706p and Marks & Spencer up 10.7p at 403.9p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Rolls-Royce down 14p at 597p, International Power off 4p at 420.5p, Smith & Nephew down 4.5p at 589.5p and Legal & General off 0.8p at 99.4p.