FTSE 100 takes flight after airline shares rise

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Shares in airlines and gold miners helped to lift London's stock market higher on Tuesday.

The FTSE 100 index finished 16.56 points, or 0.23%, higher at 7,365.50.

Mining firms Randgold and Fresnillo topped the leader board - rising more than 4% each - while shares in EasyJet finished 2.1% higher and British Airways owner IAG rose 1.9%.

Exane BNP Paribas upgraded their rating on Germany's Lufthansa, and this had a knock-on effect on UK-listed airlines.

The airlines were little moved by a 4% fall in shares for the owner of United Airlines, after the carrier was embroiled in controversy over its treatment of a passenger.

Precious metal miners benefited after investors sought out so-called safe haven assets. Gold rose 1% to $1,266.96 an ounce.

Analysts said investors were nervous about the geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia over Syria.

FTSE 250 record

Gold miners also helped the mid-cap FTSE 250 index build on Monday's record close.

The index finished at another record - rising 0.22% to 19,306.52 - and was led by big gains for JD Sports, Balfour Beatty and mining firms Hochschild Mining and Polymetal International.

JD Sports jumped 8.2% after it said strong demand for its sportswear ranges was behind an 81% increase in pre-tax profits last year to £238.4m.

Shares in Balfour Beatty climbed 5.8% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating on the company to "buy".

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.5% against the dollar to $1.24770 and was 0.4% higher against the euro at 1.17620 euros.