London’s main market struggled to make headway today after a credit rating downgrade in France sparked further uncertainty in Europe.
The FTSE 100 Index, which rallied more than 2% on Monday, closed 10.4 points higher at 5,748.1.
Mining giant Xstrata was 3%, or 29.8p higher at 986.6p after shareholders finally approved a multi-billion pound merger with commodities trader Glencore.
Most of the corporate news came from outside the top flight, with low-cost airline easyJet topping the FTSE 250 Index risers board – more than 6%, or 39.5p ahead at £6.92 – after annual profits climbed to a record £317million.
Further restructuring efforts at Premier Foods were welcomed by investors, even though it will mean the loss of around 900 jobs and the closure of two bakeries. Its shares gained 3%, or 2.5p to 94.8p.
Enterprise Inns, the UK’s biggest pub landlord, was up 0.5p at 67.3p after it revealed a 12% slide in annual profits to £137million.
Embattled home repair and insurance group Homeserve convinced investors it was recovering from mis-selling allegations after it said customer complaints had fallen by 42%.
While the cost of overhauling the group kept UK half-year profits flat at £26million, shares still rose 11%, or 24.9p to 247.9p.
Insurer Aviva’s decision to appoint former AIA boss Mark Wilson as chief executive met City approval as its shares climbed 4p to 335.2p.
Carrie Keenan, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, highlighted Xcite Energy 9.26% ahead at 100.625p, Wood Group adding 1.32% to £8.03 and BG Group up 1.08% at £10.31.
FirstGroup dropped 1.24% to 176.15p and Premier Oil softened 1.52% to 331.6p.