Better-than-expected economic data from the States helped the Footsie erase its earlier losses on Friday afternoon, though the mood on markets was still cautious ahead of an announcement from the Group of 20 meeting in Moscow.
Market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari said that "traders opt[ed] to wait on the sidelines ahead of the statement", though it is likely to be very similar to the one released earlier in the week following the G7 meeting, claiming that they "reaffirm their longstanding commitment to market determined exchange rates".
European Central Bank council member Jens Weidmann said today that the Bank would not cut interest rates in order to reverse the recent rise in the euro. He said that the exchange rate
of the euro "is broadly in line with fundamentals" and the single currency is not overvalued.
Both the Empire State manufacturing survey and University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index came in above expectations today, helped the FTSE 100 push into positive territory by the close, albeit only slightly.
Market sentiment was still a little fragile after disappointing fourth-quarter economic growth figures from the Eurozone and Japan. The Eurozone contracted by 0.6% quarter-on-quarter (consensus estimate: -0.4%) while Japan saw its economic activity decline 0.4% on an annualised basis (consensus estimate: +0.4%).
FTSE 100: Fresnillo and Randgold hit by downgrades
Precious metal peers Randgold and Fresnillo registered heavy losses today after Citigroup cut its ratings for both stocks to 'sell' and reduced target prices. The US bank said it was seeing the "loss of momentum" in precious metal prices and premium valuations of gold and silver stocks.
Similarly, sweeteners and food products firm Tate & Lyle was hit after Exane BNP Paribas lowered its rating to 'neutral'.
In contrast, broadcaster ITV was a high riser today after Nomura raised its target price for the shares
from 125p to 130p and kept its 'buy' rating ahead of the company's full-year results. The broker said it sees a "strong case" for a share buy-back.
Mining giant Anglo American gained despite recording $4.6bn of impairment charges in 2012. While underlying earnings took a hit from falling commodity prices, ongoing cost pressures and a loss-making platinum business, they still managed to beat consensus forecast. Analysts at Jefferies said that they are "becoming more positive on Anglo shares", adding that the worst could now be over. They also said that "there is a possibility that the merged Glenstrata attempts to acquire the company at some point".
Chemicals group Johnson Matthey fell after saying that it is to lose commission income from restructuring a metal supply deal with Anglo American Platinum.
FTSE 250: Tullett Prebon dragged into LIBOR scandal
Interdealer broker Tullett Prebon sank after being drawn into the LIBOR scandal. Reports suggest that an individual at the firm was part of conversations about rigging the yen LIBOR rate, according to the Financial Times.
Gold miner Petropavlovsk was lower after Citi downgraded its recommendation to 'neutral'. Meanwhile, engineering and software group Invensys was performing well after Morgan Stanley lifted its view to 'overweight'.
Bumi plc shares continued to fall as co-founders of the coal miner financier Nathanial Rothschild and the Bakrie Group continued to butt heads over fate of the business.
Britvic was back in positive territory as the stock recovered following yesterday's news that the Office of Fair Trading has referred the tie-up with A.G. Barr to the Competition Commission.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 117.00p +3.17%
WPP (WPP) 1,047.00p +2.75%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,680.00p +2.38%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,984.00p +2.06%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,263.00p +1.85%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,060.00p +1.63%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 940.00p +1.62%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,478.00p +1.54%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,201.00p +1.52%
Capita (CPI) 831.50p +1.40%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,550.00p -6.34%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,580.00p -3.79%
Polymetal International (POLY) 997.50p -2.40%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 784.00p -2.18%
Pearson (PSON) 1,184.00p -1.91%
IMI (IMI) 1,160.00p -1.69%
Tesco (TSCO) 364.75p -1.57%
Amec (AMEC) 1,026.00p -1.54%
CRH (CRH) 1,388.00p -1.49%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 331.00p -1.43%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,525.00p +6.62%
Britvic (BVIC) 403.90p +3.56%
RPS Group (RPS) 243.00p +3.40%
Perform Group (PER) 410.00p +3.27%
Carpetright (CPR) 679.50p +2.95%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 730.00p +2.89%
Redrow (RDW) 190.50p +2.86%
Senior (SNR) 213.90p +2.84%
Rotork (ROR) 2,914.00p +2.75%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 675.50p +2.74%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 272.60p -8.80%
Bumi (BUMI) 377.30p -7.07%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 282.80p -5.92%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 326.40p -4.76%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 295.00p -4.56%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,288.00p -3.95%
Savills (SVS) 515.50p -3.55%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 124.00p -3.50%
Man Group (EMG) 107.60p -3.15%
Genus (GNS) 1,401.00p -2.37%