The FTSE 100 avoided the declines suffered by its continental peers, cushioned by a weaker pound and a jump in Tesco’s share price after the supermarket giant received provisional approval for its £3.7 billion takeover of Booker.
London’s blue chip index ended the day flat, down just 0.01% or 0.76 points at 7,414.42, leaving it in a stronger position than the French Cac 40 and German Dax, which ended the day down around 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively.
Its European peers were suffering from the effects of a stronger euro, following better-than-expected third quarter German growth figures, while a mixed pound weighed less heavily on the FTSE 100.
The pound rose around 0.2% against the greenback to trade at 1.314 but was down 0.6% versus the euro at 1.116.
Tesco shares helped support the FTSE 100, rising 11.05p to 188.05p, as investors reacted to news that the supermarket giant was given the provisional green light by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for its £3.7 billion takeover of wholesale group Booker.
The CMA said its in-depth investigation found that the tie-up would not lead to higher prices or hit service for shoppers.
Booker ended the day as one of the best performers on the FTSE 250, up 13.4p at 212p.
Sterling spent most of the day in the red against both the US dollar and euro, but was mixed in late afternoon trading as investors digested UK inflation data.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation came in at 3% for October, unchanged from a five-year high in September.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The CPI report held steady at 3%, while economists were expecting it to tick up to 3.1%.
“It is still well above the Bank of England’s target of 2%, but the relief that it didn’t tick higher again initially nudged the pound lower.”
Brent crude prices tumbled 1.8% to $61.88 per barrel after a monthly report by the International Energy Agency gave a downbeat forecast for oil demand, raising fears of an extended global energy glut.
In UK stocks, mining firms were among the worst performers after Chinese data covering fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales came in “below expectations and grew at a slower rate in the previous month,” Mr Madden explained.
It sent Rio Tinto down 107p at 3,592p, Anglo American down 42p at 1,455p, and Antofagasta down 25.5p at 949p.
ITV shares also sunk, ending the day down 4p at 150p, after cautioning over an ongoing hit to advertiser confidence from “political and economic uncertainty” amid Brexit talks.
Vodafone nearly topped the FTSE 100, rising 11.05p at 227.05p, as the telecoms giant swung to a profit and upped its growth outlook thanks to solid growth in Spain and Italy.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Tesco up 11.05p to 188.05p, Vodafone up 11.05p at 227.05p, Persimmon up 52p at 2,709p, and NMC Health up 53p at 2,853p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rio Tinto down 107p at 3,592p, Anglo American down 42p at 1,455p, Antofagasta down 25.5p at 949p and ITV down 4p at 150p.