UK and European stocks gained ground on Tuesday (22 March), mounting a late surge to reverse losses generated by the deadly attack in Brussels which killed at least 34 people in the Belgian capital earlier in the day.
London's FTSE 100 closed up 0.13% to 6,192.74 and was followed in the black by its European counterparts. Germany's Dax and France's CAC 40 rose 0.42% and 0.09% respectively, while the Pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.15%.
Brussels blasts rock markets
Some 14 people were killed and 80 injured as two separate blasts struck Brussels' Zaventem Airport on Tuesday morning. A further 20 were killed and 106 injured after an explosion at Maalbeek's Metro station in the Belgian capital.
Travel and tourism stocks were among the worst performers of the day following the attacks. On the FTSE 100, British Airways owner International Airlines Group, TUI AG and InterContinental Hotels Group were all in the red, while FTSE 250-listed Thomas Cook lost over 6%.
Among European stocks, Air France KLM dropped 4.6%, while German carrier Lufthansa shed almost 2%.
Financials under the cosh
Barclays and Capita were both among the worst performers on the FTSE 100 as they both suffered from negative broker comments. The former declined after analysts at Goldman Sachs cut their rating on the stock, while the latter was downgraded from 'sell' to 'hold' by analysts at Stifel Nicolaus.
"Frustrated bears may start to realise that quarter end is looming, which will continue to provide some short-term support for this intensive market rally," said IG's senior market analyst Chris Beauchamp. "Comparisons keep being made with the October 2015 rally, which was followed by a period of consolidation and then a sharp sell off into November, but for the moment buyers are holding the line well."
Sports Direct was the standout loser of the session on London's second tier index after group founder Mike Ashley told The Times his company was not trading well. "We are in trouble, we are not trading very well," he said. "We can't make the same profit last year. We are supposed to taking profits up, they are not supposed to be going down."
At the other end of the scale, IG Group Holdings was on the front foot after posting an 18% rise in third-quarter revenue and saying it entered the fourth quarter in a strong position.
FTSE 100 - Top 5 risers
Johnson Matthey +3.08%
Paddy Power Betfair +2.49%
Shire Plc +2.42%
Provident Financial +2.23%
Old Mutual +1.97%
FTSE 100 - Top 5 fallers
TUI AG -2.84%
Standard Life -2.36%
Land Securities Group -1.91%
FTSE 250 - Top 5 risers
IG Group Holdings +6.49%
Micro Focus International +4.64%
Allied Minds +4.53%
Woodford Patient Capital Trust +3.84%
FTSE 250 - Top 5 fallers
Sports Direct International -10.57%
Thomas Cook Group -4.38%
Sophos Group -3.42%