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BP profits boost FTSE fortunes
The FTSE 100 Index added more than 35 points to close at 6282
A bigger-than-expected profits haul from oil giant BP has helped the FTSE 100 Index regain its poise as economic cheer also boosted sentiment.
The FTSE 100 Index closed 35.9 points higher at 6282.8 in a marked recovery after Monday's 100-point slump on concerns over the eurozone, which brought the market's spectacular new year rally to an abrupt halt.
Strong corporate results in the UK and US gave investor sentiment a boost, with Wall Street also enjoying gains as robust earnings from the likes of Kellogg saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average rise 0.8% in early session trading.
The more buoyant mood was helped by further signs that the UK economy might avoid a triple dip recession, with a purchasing managers' survey for the powerhouse services sector recording a return to growth in January.
And there was better news from Europe after a survey of the manufacturing and services sectors showed activity rose to a 10-month high in January across the 17-country eurozone. This helped the German DAX and France's CAC 40 also return to positive territory.
A raft of economic releases in America added to the stock market fightback, with data showing activity expanded in the US service sector and figures revealing a surge in house prices.
World markets had fallen on Monday amid signs that Silvio Berlusconi's right-wing coalition might be gaining ground ahead of Italy's general election at the end of this month, and after the Spanish government became embroiled in a corruption scandal over alleged secret cash payments. But Tuesday's positive services sector figures in the UK failed to help the pound as it continued its slide against the US dollar and euro.
Sterling has suffered amid fears of a triple dip recession and a credit rating downgrade, as well as growing uncertainty over the UK's relationship with the European Union. The pound fell to 1.56 dollars and 1.15 euro.
Among stocks in London, BP added 1%, or 6.7p, to 468.7p after it posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits of four billion US dollars (£2.5 billion).
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Hargreaves Lansdown up 40p to 734.5p, Eurasian Natural Resources ahead 14.9p to 344.2p, Arm Holdings 39p higher at 931p and BG Group up 38p at 1142p. The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Smith & Nephew down 14p to 707.5p, Randgold Resources off 120p to 6155p, Antofagasta 14p lower at 1113p and Xstrata down 13.5p to 1150.
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