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Energy shares hit by Ed Miliband comments



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(Close): Shares in SSE and Centrica have fallen after Ed Miliband said regulator Ofgem should be given new powers to force firms to cut energy bills.

The Labour leader told the BBC he would demand fast-track legislation on energy in a Commons debate.

SSE shares were down 5.8% while Centrica, the company which owns British Gas, fell 2.9%.

However, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 0.28 points to 6,501.42.

Cruise operator Carnival was one of the top risers on the index, climbing 1.6%. following positive broker comment.

The firm was also helped by the continued fall in oil prices, which is set to cut companies' fuel bills. Brent crude fell 5.6% to $47.27 a barrel, while US crude dropped 4.8% to $46.01.

Shares in UK pharmaceutical firm Shire rose at first but then headed lower after it announced it had agreed to buy US biotech firm NPS Pharmaceuticals for $5.2bn. The shares were down 0.8%.

In the FTSE 250 index, shares in online domestic appliance retailer AO World climbed 6.2% after it reported a strong rise in third quarter sales.

The company said website revenue for the three months to 31 December was up 38% from a year earlier, while total revenue rose 26%.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey fell 1.2%, despite it giving a positive outlook in its latest trading update.

The company said it was "encouraged by the more balanced market conditions, with a lower rate of price growth, which should create a healthy and more sustainable housing market".

On the currency markets, the pound rose against the dollar to $1.5162 but rose 0.23% against the euro to €1.2830.