Telecoms giant BT made progress despite wider falls on the blue-chip share index today as half-year results showed a decent start for its new sports channels.
Its shares added 2%, shrugging off a downbeat session on the FTSE 100 Index - down 46.3 points to 6731.4 - due to fears that the US Federal Reserve may tighten policy by the end of this year.
American policymakers made no change to their huge bond-purchase programme last night, but comments that the economy was expanding at a moderate pace suggested so-called tapering could start in December or January.
Trading on the Dow Jones Industrial Average stabilised, while markets in Germany and France eked out modest gains, but this failed to offset declines in London.
Sterling was flat against the dollar at 1.60, but advanced strongly against the euro to 1.18 after figures showed eurozone unemployment reached a record high in September.
BT was among the steepest climbers on the FTSE 100 after it said the lure of its Premier League football offering helped it add 156,000 broadband users in the quarter to the end of September, up from 81,000 in the previous year.
Adjusted profits before tax rose 2% to £609 million in the six months to September, against an expected fall.
New chief executive Gavin Patterson hailed the positive impact that sport was having on the business, but cautioned it was too early to crack open the champagne.
Shares were recovered from initial falls to close 7.5p higher at 377p.
Retailers Marks & Spencer and Primark-owner Associated British Foods were also high up the leaderboard ahead of results next week.
They built on gains during the prior session, sparked by strong autumn trading at clothing rival Next, with M&S climbing 10.3p to 503.5p and AB Foods adding 45p to 2267p.
One of the biggest declines came from Royal Dutch Shell as the oil major blamed weaker refining margins and the impact of disruption in Nigeria for a 32% fall in third-quarter profits.
Chief executive Peter Voser highlighted investment in new growth projects, but shares still fell 117.5p to 2159.5p , a drop of 5.2%.
Chemicals firm Croda International , which supplies cosmetics giants including L'Oreal and Estee Lauder, was the heaviest top flight faller with a drop of 199p or 7.6% to 2436p after it warned over factors such as tough economic conditions and unfavourable exchange rates.
Shares in Premier Foods also slid - off 29.5p lower to 150.5p - after sales growth for its frontline brands halved to 2% in the three months to the end of September from 4% in the first half.
Meanwhile, Royal Mail shares were 18.5p stronger to 560p after the Communications Workers Union yesterday called off strike action planned for next Monday in the wake of progress in talks over pay and pensions. The stock listed at 330p on October 11.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were BG Group up 28p to 1273.5p, Marks & Spencer 10.3p ahead to 503.5p, BT 7.5p higher at 377p and Associated British Foods 45p firmer to 2267p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Croda down 199p to 2436p, Royal Dutch Shell 117.5p lower to 2159.5p, Antofagasta 42.5p weaker to 855p and Fresnillo off 43.5p to 975.5p.