THE London market surrendered earlier gains today after worrying figures on the US economy overshadowed encouraging data from Asian powerhouse China.
The FTSE 100 Index closed just 4.4 points higher at 5871.2 after the US manufacturing purchasing managers’ index unexpectedly fell to 49.5 in November from 51.7 in October - a sign of contraction in the sector.
London’s leading shares index had been higher earlier after manufacturing PMI figures from China indicated the first expansion in the sector in 13 months.
An improvement in China would offer a boost to the world economy in the face of Europe’s debt crisis and fears of stagnation in the US.
Activity in the UK manufacturing sector was also encouraging, with the latest Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index reading of 49.1 for November being better than a month earlier although still below the 50 that represents expansion.
Among the mining stocks in London, hopes of improved Chinese demand ensured copper producer Kazakhmys lifted 2p to 715.5p and Rio Tinto added 26.5p to 3120p.
Other big risers in the top flight included ITV as the broadcaster continued to benefit from recent signs of resilience in the advertising market and an improved performance for its production division. Shares languished below 70p in the summer but topped the £1 mark today after a rise of 1.5p to 100.4p.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Melrose Industries up 6.2p at 219.3p, BSkyB ahead 13p at 772p, Rolls-Royce up 15p at 905.5p and Schroders ahead 25p at 2621p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Hargreaves Lansdown down 20.5p at 736.5p, Lloyds Banking Group off 0.8p at 45.7p, Evraz down 3.4p at 230.8p and Sainsbury off 4.7p at 336.7p.