Investors started 2012 with a burst of optimism today as upbeat manufacturing data from all corners of the world triggered a rally on London’s top shares index.
The FTSE 100 Index closed at its highest level in two months as it surged more than 2% or 127.8 points to 5,699.9 after strong manufacturing data from the US, China, India and Australia, as well as better-than-expected UK factory figures, pleased traders.
The positive start to the year follows a turbulent 2011, when the FTSE 100 Index closed 5.5% lower than its starting point a year ago.
In the past year, the UK’s top-flight index has hit a high of 6,105 and been as low as 4,791.
Yesterday it was revealed that manufacturing output declined in the UK in December, but the fall was not as steep as City analysts predicted.
Mining shares surged, with copper giant Kazakhmys up 9% or 88p at £10.15, Antofagasta ahead 7% or 90p at £13.05 and BHP Billiton 115.5p higher at £19.93.
Other strong risers included Barclays, which climbed 10.3p to 186.3p, while Lloyds Banking Group added 1.2p to 27p and Royal Bank of Scotland cheered 0.8p to 21p.
In the retail sector, the mood was largely positive as investors braced themselves for a flurry of trading updates in the coming days.
Marks & Spencer climbed nearly 2% or 6p to 317p, while Homebase and Argos owner Home Retail Group was up 13% or 11.3p to 94.7p.
Superdry firm SuperGroup added 37.5p to 545p and delivery firm Ocado improved 5.8p to 60.2p, or 11%.
The biggest Footsie risers included Essar Energy up 11.6p at 183p and Glencore ahead 26.2p at 418.2p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Shire down 18p at £22.25, G4S off 1.3p at 270.5p, Standard Life down 0.8p at 205.5p and Kingfisher off 0.7p at 250p.
Barry Shepherd, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted that risers included Weir Group which added 2.6% to £20.85, BG Group gained 3.8% to 1,428.5p and EnQuest closed 7.3% higher at 98.975p.
Among the limited fallers were Stagecoach, down 0.9% at 268.8p and Xcite Energy which lost 1.1% to close at 87.75p.