- Footsie surges 2.2 per cent
- Global stock markets rally, helped by manufacturing figures
- Miners benefit from increased risk appetite
The FTSE 100 surged past the psychologically-important level of 6,000 on Wednesday as stock markets across the globe celebrated the last-minute deal by US politicians to avert the fiscal cliff.
While the budget saga Stateside is far from over - talks over spending cuts go on while concerns over the government's debt ceiling have resurfaced - the House of Representatives passed a Senate-backed bill in the early hours of Tuesday morning to stop massive tax rises and spending cuts, by 257 votes to 167. A day before the same legislation had cleared the Senate by a majority of 89 votes to 8.
The fiscal cliff - scheduled tax rises of around $536bn and spending cuts of $109bn - was widely expected to throw the US economy back into recession if politicians couldn't break months of impasse.
Major benchmark indices across Europe finished today's session up 2-3%, while markets on Wall Street opened around 2% higher. London's blue-chip index gained 130 points, or 2.2%, to finish at 6,027. The last time the Footsie closed higher was at the end of April 2011. Nevertheless, the largest technical hurdle will come in towards the 6,100 point level, according to analysts at Digital Look.
"Immense New Year relief rally for global financial markets following the passage of a bill in the US to avert the full force of the fiscal cliff," said market strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital.
"2013 has kicked off with a bang with bulls in full control of price-action - the risk rally sees all your traditional investments in vogue (stocks EUROSTOXX making 16-month high, euro, commodities, peripheral bond yields, banks, miners et al) while core government bonds and US Treasuries take a beating," Siddiqi added.
Gains on stock markets were cemented in afternoon trade following a series of upbeat manufacturing figures. Manufacturing purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) in the UK, Italy and US managed to beat expectations today, though the Eurozone PMI number missed forecasts slightly.
FTSE 100: Miners lead the way higher
Mining stocks were putting in an impressive performance today as risk appetite increased. Steel producer and diversified mining group EVRAZ was among the best performers on the UK benchmark rising 7.2%, while commodities trader Glencore and diversified metals producer Xstrata finished with gains of around 7%.
Burberry was also making decent gains, which may be linked to comments by the luxury retailer's Chief Executive, Angela Ahrendts, who said the company is increasing its efforts to its customers through digital media.
Banks were also in demand with Barclays the standout performer after Investec hiked its target price from 260p to 285p and hailed the lender as its "preferred UK domestic bank". Despite an impressive 79% rally over the past five months, the broker said that the shares
are still trading "only in line with loss-making RBS and at a peculiar discount to Lloyds". These latter two banks are rated 'sell' by Investec.
Oil giant BP rose after announcing the "successful start of production" at the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea, adding new output from one of its core higher-margin areas. However, sector peer Shell was flat on reports that its Kulluk drilling rig has ran aground off the coast of Alaska after being caught in a storm.
Engineering support services firm Babcock was higher after saying that it has acquired liquid gas plant unit LGE Process from Weir for £23m.
Just three stocks on the blue-chip index were in the red today as defensive sectors like tobacco and supermarkets bear the brunt of the increase in risk appetite. British American Tobacco, Morrison and Sainsbury were all stuck in the red.
Sainsbury was off after analysts at Oriel Securities warned this morning that "things have got much tougher here since the interims". The broker said that the decision to offer 10p a litre off petrol for £60 spenders from December 27th to January 2nd "is a response to an uninspiring Christmas".
FTSE 250: Dunelm falls despite positive write-up from Panmure
Dunelm was a poor performer despite Panmure Gorden highlighting the stock as one of its 'conviction buys' in the UK retail sector ahead of the critical Christmas reporting season in the next few weeks.
The broker said: "Our top large cap general retail sector pick is category killer and number one UK homewares market share holder Dunelm [rated 'buy']. Our model suggests that Dunelm could return another £80m-90m to shareholders by FY2016E."
Meanwhile, Caledonia Investments was a strong riser after reporting that it has sold its stake in Celerant Consulting Investments, the global operations management consultancy, to Hitachi Consulting Corporation.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 277.60p +7.22%
Glencore International (GLEN) 376.50p +7.17%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,129.50p +6.66%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 302.60p +6.55%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 825.50p +6.11%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,003.50p +5.78%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,222.00p +5.62%
Meggitt (MGGT) 402.80p +5.36%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,691.00p +5.11%
Barclays (BARC) 275.60p +5.03%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 336.00p -2.64%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 257.40p -2.13%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,091.00p -0.96%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,108.00p +7.57%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 268.50p +6.89%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 33.00p +6.11%
Fenner (FENR) 419.70p +5.90%
Premier Oil (PMO) 355.20p +5.56%
Domino's Pizza Group (DOM) 525.00p +5.55%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,500.00p +5.41%
Afren (AFR) 138.10p +5.34%
Unite Group (UTG) 290.10p +4.99%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 613.00p +4.88%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 319.50p -5.28%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 70.45p -3.56%
Computacenter (CCC) 409.10p -3.06%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 101.90p -2.95%
Diploma (DPLM) 539.00p -2.80%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 900.00p -2.65%
WH Smith (SMWH) 653.50p -2.46%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 84.75p -2.19%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 773.50p -2.09%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 683.00p -2.08%