END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended a bumpy session modestly better, with banks and miners mixed after of the Chancellor's gloomy Autumn budget statement, with New York lending support after upbeat confidence data.
At the close of business, the FTSE100 was up 24.24 points at 5,337 with the FTSE250 ahead 123.12 points at 10,031.58 and the FTSE Smallcaps 12.09 points better at 2,718.84.
US stocks were mostly higher in late morning trade after better-than-expected consumer confidence data boosted sentiment.
Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 58 points at 11,581, the S&P500 improved 7 points at 1,199 and the Nasdaq Composite eased 2 points at 2,525.
The gloomy outlook outline in the Chancellor's Autumn statement did little to help the market find a sense of direction. After bumpy day of sliding in and out of the red, the main index settled modestly higher.
In the banking sphere, the part-nationalised banks were out of favour, with Lloyds dropping 0.5p at 23.18p and Royal Bank of Scotland edging down 0.22p at 19.52p. HSBC lost 2.2p at 486.55p and Standard Chartered fell 8.5p at 1,331.5p. However, Barclays had a better day, up 1.15p at 169p.
Insurers made progress, with Prudential ticking up 12.5p at 610.5p, Aviva 4.3p better at 302.8p and Legal & General gaining 1.7p at 103p.
Mining stocks enjoyed mixed fortunes. Rio Tinto was the runt of the litter, down 25.5p at 3,138.5p, while Anglo American dipped 8p at 2,308.5p. To the upside, Xstrata edged up 6.7p at 955p and Kazakhmys rose 11p at 868.5p.
Tour operator TUI travel continued to make ground, up 2.73p at 164p but troubled midcap peer Thomas Cook slipped 1.74p at 18.9p on reports of imminent swingeing job cuts.
Commercial property firms Land Securities and British Land were boosted by upgrades to buy from neutral at Espirito Santo Execution Noble, up 8p at 669p and 5.5p at 477.3p, respectively.
Staying with the upside with blue chips, gold miner Randgold Resources rallied 360p at 6,600p, the table topper, after yesterday's heavy losses and as gold firmed over $1,710 an ounce, while precious metals processor Johnson Matthey added 33p at 1,842p.
Airline group IAG shrugged off news that American Airlines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the shares climbing 1.04p at 145.2p.
Automotive engineering group GKN gained 7.4p at 184.5p after an upbeat assessment from Moody's, while fellow engineer IMI rose 14.5p at 762.5p and Smiths Group added 11p at 922p.
The supermarket operators regained momentum as the session progressed, with Tesco adding 2.05p at 398.3p, Sainsbury up 3.9p at 297.5p and Morrisons 3.7p higher at 319p, while Marks & Spencer edged up 0.4p at 318.2p.
On the downside, satellite broadcaster BSkyB slipped 1.71p at 745p on news James Murdoch has been re-elected chairman at the AGM, despite calls for his resignation.
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