Blue chip shares struggled for direction despite positive trading from the heavyweight mining sector.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 6 points to 7182.4 in afternoon trading, even after gold miner Randgold Resources hiked its 2016 dividend by 52% after posting a rise in pre-tax profits on the back of higher gold prices.

The Africa-focused FTSE 100 miner said gold production hit a record high of 1.25m ounces last year up from 1.21m ounces the year before. It reported a 54% rise in pre-tax profit to $402.6m (£322.9m). This helped to make its shares the top flight's best performer, up 5%, or 350p to 7210p.

However, Ryanair saw its stock fall after the Dublin-based airline said fares slumped by 17% amid strong competition among European rivals.

Europe's largest low-cost carrier said profit slipped 8% to €95m in the third quarter of its year as average fares tumbled to €33 a passenger.

The group, which has a secondary listing in London, fell more than 2%, or 33 cents to €14.44.

IG market analyst Joshua Mahony said: "Ryanair shares may have suffered this morning, yet the consumer is celebrating as the airline said it expects to see fares fall over the next 13 months."

The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Randgold Resources (+350p to 7210p), Mediclinic International (+27.5p to 816p), Fresnillo (+33p to 1502p), Capita (+6.6p to 492.6p) and RSA Insurance (+5p to 584.5p).

The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Dixons Carphone (-6.5p to 298.1p), Barratt Developments (-9.6p to 492p), Taylor Wimpey (-3.2p to 169.4p), Persimmon (-33p to 1938p) and Tesco (-3.3p to 194p).

The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 250 Index were Inmarsat (+19p to 635.5p), Spire Healthcare (+9.5p to 327.5p), McCarthy & Stone (+5p to 172.7p), NMC Health (+49p to 1769p) and Victrex (+50p to 1943p).

The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 250 Index were JD Sports Fashion (-13.6p to 351.2p), William Hill (-8.2p to 267.3p), Euromoney (-31p to 1074p), Ladbrokes Coral Group (-3.4p to122.8p) and Thomas Cook (-2.4p to88.6p).