FTSE 100 ends higher as Provident rebounds

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Shares in troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial continue to rebound, closing 13% higher.

The stock had gained 12% on Wednesday, although that paled in comparison with its 66% plunge on Tuesday.

Advertising giant WPP clawed back some losses after falling on Wednesday on poor sales news, ending 2.9% higher.

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% at 7,407 points. Among the main fallers were Easyjet, down 4.4%.

The airline's shares were hit by a downgrade to "underperform" from analysts at Exane BHP Paribas.

Dixons Carphone stoked fears about consumer spending. The FTSE 250 company, which owns Carphone Warehouse and PC World, said slower mobile phone sales would hit profits.

Dixons Carphone shares initially fell by as much as 30%, but eased back later to close about 23% lower.

The company's chief executive, Seb James, told the BBC that he was shocked at the size of the share price fall.

"Thoughtful investors will begin to see quite soon that we look a bargain and the shares should recover," he said.

But Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said: "After the Provident Financial collapse, another profits warning is probably the last thing the City needs right now."

Provident tumbled on Tuesday after issuing the profit warning in three months and saying that its chief executive was leaving.

One the currency markets, the pound was flat against the dollar at $1.2801, and fell slightly against the euro at 1.0837 euros.