'Strong' Asian stocks lift FTSE 100

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The FTSE 100 Index stood 13 points higher at 5656.1

The London market has moved cautiously as traders awaited an update from the European Central Bank (ECB) on the escalating debt crisis on the continent.

The FTSE 100 Index edged 13 points higher to 5656.1, after a strong session on Asian markets – driven by improved economic indicators in the US and China.

The ECB is expected to soothe mounting concerns in Europe by stepping up its Government bond-buying programme after its latest rate-setting meeting.

The positive sentiment lifted banking stocks, with part-nationalised banks Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland up 0.6p at 64.6p and 0.3p at 40p respectively.

In corporate news, Thomson Holidays owner TUI Travel advanced nearly 3% to the top of the risers board after its full-year results revealed an 11% increase in full-year operating profits.

The travel firm made an underlying operating profit of £447 million in the year to September 30, up from £401 million the previous year. Shares were up 6.9p at 221.3p.

Rolls-Royce dropped more than 1% after Australian airline Qantas said it had launched preliminary legal action against the company, after the recent failure of its Trent-900 engine, which was powering a Qantas A380 superjumbo. The incident resulted in a lengthy grounding of the airline’s fleet of six A380s while a safety review was conducted.

The airline said it had filed a statement of claim in a federal court that will allow it to launch legal action against Rolls-Royce if required. Shares were down 7p at 611.5p.

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