Mining stocks made the best gains of the day but losses for ITV and Woolworths among others dragged the FTSE 100 back to close just above flat.
The FTSE 100 index climbed just 1.9 points or less than 0.1% to close at 4733 but it was aided by a rise in the copper price which lifted mining stocks, while the FTSE All-Share index gained 1.96 points or 0.1% to 2369.64.
BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, rose 5p or 0.8% to 598.5p because stockpiles of copper are now standing at a 14-year low and therefore raises the price of the metal.
Rivals Anglo American rose 1.7% to £12.08 and Rio Tinto added 1% to £14.85, while Xstrata rose 18p or 2% to 930p.
A parliamentary committee report also proposed pub chains should follow a voluntary code of practice rather than legislation.
This lifted Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries’ share price 21p or 2% to £10.95 while Punch Taverns, Britain's second-largest pub landlord, climbed 19p or 2.9% to 670.5p and Enterprise Inns added 7p or 0.9% to 758p.
Bloomsbury Publishing, the UK publisher of Harry Potter books, also got a welcome boost after author JK Rowling announced she has finished book six of the seven-title series and will release the next book on July 16, 2005.Bloomsbury saw its share price rise 22.5p or 8.2% to 296p on expectation of future sales.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical firm developing cannabis-based drugs for multiple Sclerosis sufferers, among other conditions, also closed up 8.5p or 8.1% to 113.5p after the Canadian authorities gave preliminary approval to sell its pain-killing spray.
Elsewhere, however, Woolworths fell 1.5p or 3.5% to 41 as concerns about Christmas sales encouraged analysts to cut its ratings from overweight to neutral.ITV, the UK’s largest commercial TV network, dropped 1.25p or 1.2% to 105.5p after announcing it would buy back and then 15.9m ordinary shares and 600,000 convertible shares held by US shareholders.
And Smith & Nephew, maker of orthopedic goods, also closed down 13p or 2.5% to 536p after announcing yesterday it will have to recall around £80m worth of stock.IFAonline
‘Important to have an anchor’
Report to be written by TPR
Lack of innovation for solutions
Some 2,000 consumers affected