London's blue chip shares today made nervous gains in a volatile session as traders digested a possible three trillion euro plan to rescue the single currency.
The FTSE 100 Index rose 22.6 points 5089.4 although it started the day nearly 100 points in the red and at one point it had been more than 80 points higher.
The swing of nearly 175 points reflected uncertainty over the outcome of a proposed rescue plan for the eurozone that should enable Greece to default on half of its debts without damaging the region's banks.
There was similar volatility across other markets, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the US making gains of more than 1% at the time of the London market's close, and the Dax nearly 3% stronger in Frankfurt and France's CAC-40 up nearly 2%.
The pound was up against most currencies as it rebounded from recent falls. It was at 1.55 against the dollar and at 1.15 against the euro.
Miners were the main cause of the weakness in London, with selling sparked by ongoing global growth fears, which have been accompanied by a sharp slide in gold and silver prices.
CME Group, the world's largest futures market, today increased the minimum investment value in gold to cover itself amid market uncertainty. This triggered a further slide in the price, which has fallen by more than US$300 per ounce to $1604 in the last three weeks.
Silver miner Fresnillo was down by 7% or 112p to 1524p, while Randgold Resources slumped 180p to 6170p.
Banks were aided by signs of a Greek rescue plan. Barclays was the biggest riser, up 7%, or 10p at 156p. Lloyds Banking Group was ahead 1.1p at 35.2p and Royal Bank of Scotland was 0.7p higher at 23.6p.
Life insurance companies, whose fortunes are closely linked to stock market movements, also picked up, with Prudential up 14.5p to 561p, Legal and General ahead 5.9p at 97.5p and Aviva adding 17.7p to 295p after also benefiting from a buy note by Investec.
Elsewhere, shares in Tesco were 2% higher as it launched £500m (€575.9m) of price cuts. The stock, which rose 6.2p to 371.4p, was given a lift by rumours that billionaire investor Warren Buffett had upped his stake in the UK's biggest supermarket chain. Rival Sainsbury's was 4.6p higher at 270.9p.
Among the small caps, Finsbury Food Group, which is the UK's second largest supermarket cake supplier and makes branded cakes for Thorntons and Disney, posted underlying profits up 8% to £5.8m (€6.68m) for the year to July 2. Shares rose by 1.3p to 25.8p.
The biggest Footsie risers were Barclays up 10p at 156p, Legal & General ahead 5.9p at 97.5p, Aviva up 17.7p at 295p, Admiral ahead 62p at 1333p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Fresnillo down 112p at 1524p, Kazakhmys off 32p at 782p, Vedanta Resources down 43p at 1070p, and Randgold Resources off 180p at 6170p.