The London market has been moving cautiously as fears over the European debt crisis remain.
The FTSE 100 Index, which tumbled 2% on Monday on worries over the potential for further bail-outs, recovered its poise to stand 10 points higher at 5561.6 by Tuesday lunchtime. European stocks were also more settled, with Germany’s DAX up 0.8% and the CAC-40 in France ahead 0.1%.
The main focus in the markets was once again on Europe’s debt crisis and concerns that Portugal – or even Spain – will follow Ireland and seek a substantial financial bail-out from the European Union.
But these concerns were offset by the prospect of positive US data to be released later in the session, including figures on consumer confidence and manufacturing.
Rising commodity prices helped mining stocks recover from some of Monday’s losses, with Rio Tinto up 37p at 4080p, BHP Billiton ahead 19.5p at 2285p and Lonmin gaining 11p to 1694p.
Energy stocks also benefited from stronger commodities, with Cairn Energy topping the risers board, up 6.4p at 384p, and BG Group adding 10.5p at 1179p.
Banks, which have been hit hard in the wake of the Irish crisis, were also higher, with Lloyds up 0.5p at 61p and Royal Bank of Scotland ahead 0.2p to 38.7p.
In corporate news, shares in school trips and hotel breaks firm Holidaybreak jumped 7% after it posted a 9% rise in full-year profits and announced the acquisition of 50% of student accommodation firm Meininger. The deal is part of plans to make Holidaybreak the leading brand in the European school trips market. Shares rose 18.25p to 288.25p.
Elsewhere in the travel industry, corporate specialist Hogg Robinson saw its shares lift more than 1% after it raised its profit hopes for the full year.
The Basingstoke-based firm, which provides business travel services to clients worldwide including Rolls-Royce, Volkswagen and GlaxoSmithKline, said spending and bookings were both up 18% in the six months to September 30. Shares were up 0.5p at 35.2p.