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Markets stall amid US fiscal cliff impasse

In thin pre-Christmas trading, P&O Cruises owner Carnival was the worst performing stock in the top flight, with a decline of 154p to 2391p after it reported bookings were behind the previous year, following the Costa Concordia tragedy in January.

Cillit Bang owner Reckitt Benckiser was also a top flight faller, losing 1.4% or 56p to 3909p.

Elsewhere, shares in Johnnie Walker and Guinness owner Diageo crept 10p higher to 1848.5p after broker JPMorgan Cazenove raised its price target on the stock and said it no longer expected the company to underperform the European drinks sector. Conditions in the US were also improving, it added.

Oil and gas engineering firm Weir was near the top of the risers board jumping 3% after broker Investec praised the £148 million acquisition of pressure control provider Mathena.

Shares were up 51p to 1863p and were joined on the way up by temporary power specialist Aggreko, which added 42p to 1742p as it recovers from this week's profits warning.

Gaming firm 888 Holdings was down 1%, despite a statement confirming it was on track to meet full-year expectations. Amid disappointment that there was no upgrade to forecasts, shares slipped 1.7p to 117.2p.

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