Gains narrowed on the FTSE 100 today, with the blue-chip index closing ahead 21.2 points at 6,451.3 after disappointing US economic reports.
US jobs data showed worse-than-expected private sector hiring last month, while there were also weak reports from the construction and manufacturing sectors.
A well-received trading update from Antofagasta helped it and other mining stocks rise initially after the Chilean copper producer said it remained on track to meet its full-year output target, but it later fell back by 2.5p to £8.95.
Another miner, Randgold Resources, managed to hold on to some of its early gains, finishing up 50p at £51.10.
Argos parent Home Retail Group ended the day as one of the biggest fallers on the FTSE 250 despite early session gains prompted by the catalogue retailer’s return to sales and profit growth.
Home Retail rose more than 2% in early trading but at the close was 7% or 109p lower at 144.9p.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included BT, up 9.5p at 285.7p ARM Holdings up 30p at £10.26, Johnson Matthey up 61p at £24.85 and Melrose Industries up 5.9p at £2.50.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Eurasian Natural Resources, down 11.6p at 262.8p, Admiral Group down 40p at £12.41, Reed Elsevier down 23p at £7.29 and Evraz down 4.7p at 150.3p.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, highlighted Stagecoach Group gaining 2.2% to 314.7p, Parkmead Group up 1.9% to 13.5p and Cairn Energy which added 1.1% to end the day at 291.6p.
Among the day’s fallers Weir Group lost 2.2% to £21.56, Petrofac slid 0.9% to £13.38 and First Group fell 0.8% to 209.7p.