The FTSE 100 Index struggled to make progress today, up 3.3 points at 5,924, amid frustration at the pace of negotiations on the looming US fiscal cliff.
Costa coffee owner Whitbread stormed up the blue chip index however, as it revealed another strong performance at the coffee chain.
Shares in Whitbread rose 60p to £24.88 amid speculation that the recent furore over the tax arrangements of rivals Starbucks and Caffe Nero had helped business.
Tullow Oil was the biggest top flight faller after it revealed disappointing results from exploration wells in Ghana and Guyana. With the firm also planning to dispose of production assets in the UK and Dutch southern North Sea gas basin, shares fell 8% or 106p to £11.50.
Outside the top flight, Carpetright’s half-year results drew a positive response from investors as shares in the floor coverings firm rose 1p to 667.5, while online fashion retailer ASOS continued to hit the right note in the City after a better-than-expected sales boost of 24% in the UK for the three months to November 30. Shares jumped 102.9p to 2,566.9p, a rise of 4%.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers included Polymetal International up 29p to £11.16, Evraz ahead 6.1p to 252.3p and Weir Group up 32p to £18.45.
Among the biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Eurasian Natural Resources off 10.1p to 266.1p, Rolls Royce 20.5p lower at 871p and IMI down 20p to £10.72.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Faroe Petroleum added 6.4% to 145.875p, Parkmead Group was 4% higher to 13.375p and Optos rose 2% to 175.375p.
Fallers included Cairn Energy, down 2.2% to 262.9p, while Hunting fell 1.3% to 824.5p and BG Group finished 1% lower at £10.65.