In the UK, leading shares tumbled down from earlier highs to end the day with a token gain of 6.20 points, or 0.12% to 5380.70, as the price of oil pushed up again with a barrel of crude rising towards the $63 mark.
The biggest gains were made by Tate and Lyle which rose 16p, or 3.48% to 475.75p. Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer helped buoy shares moving up 3.45% to 397.25p, as it lifted sales for the first time in eight quarters, adding that interim profits would be at the top end of market expectations.
The news accompanied September figures from the British Retail Consortium that showed like for like sales fell 0.8% last month, as declines on the high street continue to bottom out.
Airport operator BAA gained 0.40% to 628p as it saw passenger traffic in September rise by 3% year-on-year to 13.5m. The group also said that it has agreed to sell the ground lease of the terminal 5 hotel in Heathrow to Arora International for £65m.
Hedge fund manager Man led the fallers, down 3.01% to 1,549p, after a report that it intends to respond to the charge of contempt of court, following the failure of US hedge fund PAMM, in a couple of weeks.
Telecoms group Cable & Wireless also slipped down 2.31% to 116.25p after Goldman Sachs cut forecasts following the disappointing trading update.
In the US, stocks were mixed as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.54 points, or 0.35%, to 10,274.30 in early trading after strong earnings from Alcoa led the Dow Jones higher but rising oil prices renewed worries about inflation and recession.
Alcoa has risen $0.39 to $23.05 after saying its profits were 2% higher than a year ago, despite surging energy costs and lower aluminium prices. The company saw additional income after selling some railroad assets and has also been eliminating jobs to offset rising costs.
But traders continue to look anxiously for signs that higher energy costs will depress corporate earnings and rising oil prices have not allayed their fears as a barrel of light crude rose £1.30 to $63.10.
Other early winners include cancer drug maker Genentech which has gained $4.06 to $85.56 after its profits soared 56% higher in the third quarter. Revenue rose 46% to $1.75bn from $1.2bn at the same time last year, because of increased sales of its drug Avastin, which chokes the blood supply that feeds tumors.
NCR has also increased $2.25 to $33.20 after it raised its third-quarter and fiscal 2005 earnings outlook. The company, which makes cash registers and ATMs, was helped by a one-time gain and said its revenue and cost savings were better than expected.
Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, rose $0.36 to $66.55 after it reported results in line with analysts expectations. The company saw a 4% decline in third-quarter earnings as lower advertising revenue in its broadcasting segment and higher newsprint and other costs damped results.IFAonline
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