Further signs of recovery in the US and renewed hopes of a bail-out for Greece helped boost world markets today.
The FTSE 100 Index rose 19.7 points to 5,905.1 after German chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said she was optimistic that a second massive rescue package for Greece would be agreed on Monday. Sentiment was further buoyed after the US Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators rose for the fourth month in a row in January.
Heavily weighted financial and mining sectors led the London market higher.
As the banking sector gears up for full-year results from state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group next week, the pair rose 0.9p to 27.6p and 1.1p to 35.5p respectively.
Record full-year profits of £7billion from miner Anglo American helped buoy mining and commodities-based companies. Its shares were up 30p at £26.74.
Several retailers were buoyed by figures from the Office for National Statistics which showed a surprise growth in sales volumes of 0.9% between December and January. Shares in market heavyweight Marks & Spencer edged 4.7p higher to 352.6p, Sainsbury’s rose 5.5p to 301.5p while in the second tier shares in Argos owner Home Retail Group were up 6.3p to 109.1p.
The biggest Footsie risers included CRH up 67p at £13.43, Vedanta Resources up 57p to £13.12, Weir Group ahead 82p at £20.51, and IMI ahead 33.5p at 960p.
The biggest Footsie fallers were Ashmore down 7.5p at 390.6p, G4S off 4.1p at 280.1p, Essar Energy down 1.3p at 122.3p and British American Tobacco off 33p at £31.15.
Alan MacPhee, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted that Standard Life rose 1.74% to 233.9p.
Among the day’s fallers were Melrose Resources which shed 3.03% to end at 272p, whilst John Menzies lost 1.03% at 574p.