London’s leading shares index made solid gains today as euphoria from a positive US jobs report and optimism around the future of the euro boosted investor confidence.
The FTSE 100 Index was 21.5 points higher at 5,808.8 as European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi’s pledge to devise a plan to help the eurozone eased the borrowing costs of beleaguered countries.
Banks and miners were among the main beneficiaries from the improved sentiment. Evraz topped the risers board, up 11.4p, or 5%, at 251p, while Barclays was 5.9p higher at 983p. Royal Bank of Scotland was up 12.8p at 228.8p.
Shares in high street giant Marks & Spencer enjoyed strong gains following reports it could become a £6billion bid target. Shares in the retailer were ahead 6.6p to 347.7p.
In a quiet session for corporate news, shares in utility firms were lower after former Ofwat chief Sir Ian Byatt called for a price cap to keep hikes in water bills at or below inflation. Severn Trent fell 20p to £17.18 and South West Water firm Pennon was 11p lower at 757p.
HMV shares were 4% lower as the music retailer confirmed the departure of finance director David Wolffe, less than a week after chief executive Simon Fox announced his departure. The stock slipped 0.1p to 3.5p.
The biggest Footsie risers included Eurasian Natural Resources up 14.9p at 403.1p and CRH ahead 43p at £12.28.
Among the biggest Footsie fallers were Standard Chartered down 97p at £14.70 and BAE Systems off 3.5p at 311.2p.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted Faroe Petroleum was 4.9% ahead at 149.3p and A.G. Barr took on 4.5% to finish at 448.1p.
Fallers included SSE off 1% to 1315p, Centrica down 0.9% to 320.6p and Hunting, which closed 0.1% lower at 776p.