- Footsie finishes up five points on the week
- Stocks rise despite US GDP data, Spanish downgrade
- Man Group jumped 14% after upgrade
Following a steep sell-off on Monday, a four-day rise for blue-chip stocks saw the FTSE 100 finish slightly above levels seen last week with financials leading the way higher on Friday. Investors seemed to shrug off worse-than-expected economic growth in the US, a downgrade for Spain and some gloomy confidence data here in the UK with the benchmark finishing firmly in the blue.
The rate of US real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was worse than expected in the first quarter of 2012. The US economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.2% in the first three months of the year compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, when GDP grew by 3%, according to a preliminary estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The figure falls short of the 2.5% expected by the market consensus.
Meanwhile, Standard and Poor's downgraded Spain's credit rating from A to BBB+, saying that it now feels that the country's budget trajectory will likely deteriorate against a background of economic contraction and considers that its government will probably need to provide further support to the banking sector.
In domestic news, the GfK UK consumer confidence index for the month of April has come in at -31 points, unchanged on the previous month. The consensus estimate was for a slight improvement to -30.
FTSE 100: Man Group soars, Barclays also provides a lift
Shares in hedge fund manager Man Group surged by 14% today after Societe Generale upgraded its rating on the stock from hold to buy. Earlier this week Swiss bank UBS suggested the hedge fund operator could be a takeover target as its shares
have more than halved over the last year, and are down by a quarter over the last month alone.
Barclays was making solid gains after this morning's annual general meeting (AGM) which focused on the highly contentious issue of executive remuneration. Royal Bank of Scotland also finished the day firmly higher, while Lloyds was lower.
Building group CRH and real estate investment trust British Land were being helped higher by a ratings upgrade, this time from JP Morgan Cazenove which lifted its recommendation on both stocks to overweight.
Pharmaceutical group Shire was among the worst performers today, pulling back of yesterday's well-received first-quarter results.
Media giant WPP rose after saying that it is reviewing its full-year forecasts after an impressive start to 2012 with like-for-like revenue growth coming in ahead of expectations in the first quarter.
Publishing giant Pearson advanced after an in-line first quarter statement. The company said it continues to expect growth in sales and operating profits this year.
FTSE 250: CSR jumps over a tenth
Wireless technology and computer chip company CSR jumped by nearly 11% on the back of renewed takeover speculation. Market rumours were suggesting a £600m bid offer.
Talvivaara, the Finland focused nickel and zinc miner, also rose strongly after electing its former CEO, Pekka Pera, as Chairman of the board.
Business communications group Colt rose after revenue rose 5.2% in the first quarter with the company experiencing growth across all major product categories.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Man Group (EMG) 107.00p +14.13%
Barclays (BARC) 223.10p +4.74%
CRH (CRH) 1,268.00p +3.93%
ICAP (IAP) 382.90p +3.77%
Evraz (EVR) 376.30p +3.35%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 24.35p +3.27%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 526.50p +3.24%
British Land Co (BLND) 497.00p +2.83%
Schroders (Non-Voting) (SDRC) 1,148.00p +2.68%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,078.00p +2.57%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Polymetal International (POLY) 894.00p -2.30%
BT Group (BT.A) 212.90p -1.48%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,013.00p -1.32%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,109.00p -1.22%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 31.19p -0.91%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,540.00p -0.90%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,223.00p -0.73%
Whitbread (WTB) 1,907.00p -0.73%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 283.20p -0.67%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 171.10p -0.58%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 232.80p +10.54%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 188.50p +7.10%
Genus (GNS) 1,439.00p +6.99%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 130.00p +6.73%
Bodycote (BOY) 437.10p +5.30%
Invensys (ISYS) 211.50p +5.28%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 158.00p +4.64%
De La Rue (DLAR) 984.50p +4.62%
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) 144.90p +4.39%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 807.50p +4.19%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kesa Electricals (KESA) 53.75p -4.95%
Rank Group (RNK) 119.00p -3.49%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 156.80p -2.06%
Telecity Group (TCY) 798.00p -1.85%
Cobham (COB) 229.80p -1.63%
AG Barr (BAG) 1,169.00p -1.52%
Ruspetro (RPO) 197.00p -1.50%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,230.00p -1.44%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 578.00p -1.37%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 128.80p -1.30%