FTSE down slightly

A two-day rally on the London market came to an end today as traders waited for key economic data from the US.

FTSE down slightly

A two-day rally on the London market came to an end today as traders waited for key economic data from the US.

The FTSE 100 Index added more than 200 points in two days as European officials stepped up efforts to contain the continent's government debt crisis.

But the market paused for breath today as traders digested the recent rebound and dipped 3 points lower to 5764.5.

Easing fears in the eurozone helped the euro pull further away from an 11-week low against the dollar while European markets have climbed to near their highs for the year.

The City had been encouraged by moves from the European Central Bank to delay the withdrawal of emergency liquidity measures.

Banking stocks wavered throughout the session with Royal Bank of Scotland up 0.5p at 42p but Barclays dropping 4.9p to 270p.

Rising metal prices ensured mining stocks gained, with Fresnillo at the top of the risers board after lifting 52p to 1560p, and Kazakhmys not far behind after adding 19p to 1506p.

Fashion label Burberry lost earlier gains after Seymour Pierce introduced a buy rating on the stock and praised its geographical and product mix. Shares initially lifted but were later down 20p to 1079p.

In corporate results, shares in pubs group Greene King were steady after it reported a better-than-expected 17% rise in pre-tax profits to £73.1m (€86.17m) and a 4.2% improvement in revenues to £484.1m (€570.66m).

The company, which climbed 1.6p to 461.6p, also announced plans to fully integrate its Scottish business Belhaven in a bid to save the company £1m (€1.17m).

Premier Foods shares fell more than 2% after the firm said it was in advanced talks with two parties over the sale of its meat-free food range Quorn.

The statement follows speculation that named Swiss consumer giant Nestle as a frontrunner in the auction, which could value Quorn at more than £200m (€235.7m). Shares were down 0.5p at 18p.

Housebuilder Berkeley provided some rare cheer to the sector when it posted an 18% rise in pre-tax profits and 20% surge in sales reservations.

The firm, which focuses on London and the south east, lifted its profits guidance for the full year after strong demand in London and stable prices boosted sales. Shares were up 32.5p at 872.5p.

The upbeat performance cheered the industry, with Barratt Developments up 2.7p at 76.2p, Taylor Wimpey ahead 0.8p at 26.1p and Bellway up 3.5p at 549.5p.

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