Gains by energy and retail stocks cancelled out losses among miners and the financial sector yesterday to leave the FTSE 100 flat. The index gained just 3.83 points, or 0.1%, to close at 5,538.
Energy stocks were up, with BG Group leading the sector, with a gain of 2.6%. Other climbers included BP, which saw a rise of 2.2%, and Royal Dutch Shell, which added 0.9%.
Retailers fared well too. Marks and Spencer put on 2.4%, and Kingfisher rose 2.3%. Supermarkets were led by Wm Morrison, which gained 1.9%, while Tesco rose 0.5%. Sainsbury's, however, slipped 0.5%.
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Worst performers were financial and mining stocks. ENRC was the day's biggest faller, down 2.3%, with Anglo American and Xstrata both losing 1.8%, Kazakhmys 0.5% and Rio Tinto 0.4%. Among banks, Standard Chartered fell 2.1%, HSBC and Lloyds both slipped 1.4%, while Barclays lost 1.1% and RBS 0.4%.
In Europe, the Paris CAC 40 fell two points to 4,043; and the German Xetra Dax was two points higher at 6,040.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.43% to 10,664; the S&P 500 added 0.17% to 1,147; but the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2% to 2,312.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to 10,879 - its highest close since December 2008; and the broader Topix index gained 1.4% to 954. In China, the Shanghai Composite index gained 1.9% to 3,273; and the CSI 300 closed up 1.5% at 3,534.
Brent spot was trading at $80.12 early today, and in New York, crude oil was at $82.13. Spot gold was trading at $1,156 an ounce, silver was at $18.68 and platinum was at $1,618.
In the forex markets this morning, sterling was trading against the US dollar at 1.6094 and against the euro at 1.1104. The dollar was trading at 0.6901 against the euro and 91.89 against the Japanese yen.
And today, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that although Britain may be "on the brink of leaving recession", worries still remain over the economy, especially in the service sector, according to its latest survey. David Kern, the BCC's chief economist, said: "With a number of critical measures still in negative territory, the economy is struggling to enter the recovery phase."
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