- FTSE closes up 28.84 points at 6,808.87
- Lloyds leads after strong quarterly performance
- UK manufacturing PMI rises to five-month high
techMARK 2,788.41 +0.28%
FTSE 100 6,808.87 +0.43%
FTSE 250 15,850.34 +0.21%
London-listed stocks closed today's session on a positive note, with gains being led by Lloyds as investors welcomed a stronger-than-expected rise in house prices and better-than-forecast UK manufacturing data.
The FTSE 100 closed up 28.84 points at 6,808.87.
Chris Beauchamp, Market Analyst at IG, said: "The new month has got off to a positive start for the FTSE and other UK markets, although trading is lacking the enthusiasm displayed during previous days. This is probably down to a combination of the absence of 'month end mark up' trading, and caution ahead of non-farm payrolls tomorrow.
"Lloyds has added to its gains in the afternoon session, and the results today are likely to boost appetite for the TSB initial public offering among investors, eager to seize another piece of the Lloyds empire."
The UK manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to a five-month high of 57.3 in April, up from 55.8 in March and ahead of the consensus forecast of 55.4, driven by increases in output and new orders. The news pushed the pound to an almost five-year high against the greenback at $1.6921, although it later fell back.
Meanwhile, UK house prices increased by 1.2% during April to reach £183,577 following several months of moderation, according to mortgage lender Nationwide.
That left prices standing 10.9% higher than a year ago, the first double-digit gain in four years. Economists had been expecting gains of 0.5% month-on-month and 9.8% over the year.
In other UK macro news, lending to individuals increased by 0.2% over the month, or £2.9bn, to reach £1.44trn, while the average monthly rise over the previous six months was £1.9bn. Net mortgage lending was 0.1% higher on the month, after increasing by £1.8bn (Consensus: £1.7bn), to £1.281trn.
US economic data comes in mixed
Meanwhile, over in the States, consumer spending and incomes both increased in March, with growth accelerating from the prior month. Spending and incomes rose by 0.9% and 0.5%, respectively, ahead of forecasts.
"While these data were already incorporated in the first-quarter 2014 advance GDP release, they suggest solid momentum in underlying goods and services spending going into the second quarter of 2014, and we project another 3% increase in consumer spending on the quarter," said Analyst Dean Maki from Barclays.
An index measuring activity in the manufacturing sector, as measured by the Institute for Supply Management, rose to 54.9 in April from 53.7 the month before, ahead of the 54.3 forecast.
Meanwhile, jobless claims unexpectedly rose to a nine-week high of 344,000 last week from a revised 333,000 the week before, according to data from the Labor Department. The consensus forecast was for a drop to 320,000.
Betting terminal recommendations not as bad as feared
The government today unveiled its report into the high street gambling industry and fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) - and the results are not as bad as feared for bookmakers.
The main recommendations from the Department for Media, Conservation and Sport (DMCS) report is to give local councils new powers to control the concentration of betting shops, with bookmaking firms now required to apply for planning permission. William Hill and Ladbrokes were both higher by the close.
Lloyds takes top spot after strong Q1 and TSB float news
Domestic lender Lloyds rose into the top spot after saying that underlying profits rose by over a fifth in the first quarter and it continues to expect to apply to regulators in the second half to restart dividend payments. That came as it announced TSB bank is due to float in London before the end of June, selling at least a 25% stake of the recovering business.
Most of Lloyds's key financial metrics continued to 'appreciate measurably' in the first quarter, according to Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. "Lloyds is often seen as a proxy for the UK economy, and although they are inextricably linked, both are beginning to prosper after a long period of austerity," said Head of Equities Richard Hunter.
Aggreko climbed strongly after Jefferies upgraded the stock to 'buy', pushing the stock more than 4% higher.
Profits at oil and gas company BG Group rose as it regained losses incurred earlier in the week, which came on the back of lower production volumes and higher costs, as well as the surprise exit of its Chief Executive.
Earnings fell 2.4% at BSkyB in the third quarter despite a rise in revenues, but continued investment in connected television services was repaid with better-than-expected new subscriptions, pushing shares
higher throughout today's session.
Meanwhile, meanwhile, Sainsbury, Tesco and Morrison were all notable fallers this afternoon after the latter unveiled plans to slash the price of 1,2000 products by as much as 60% in an effort to take a greater slice of the market share. As many as 40% of the products will be own-brand items. Broker Bernstein said the size of the move marked "a big departure" and said the company was "dropping the ultimate bomb".
Scottish engineering group Weir declined after Numis Securities downgraded its rating for the stock from 'add' to 'hold', saying that it sees little upside after the stock's recent strong run. That came after the group posted in line trading in the last four months.
Randgold Resources fell after Investec reiterated its 'hold' rating on the stock.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 79.50p +5.49%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,645.00p +4.31%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,215.00p +3.85%
BG Group (BG.) 1,237.50p +3.30%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,815.00p +3.24%
Rexam (REX) 510.00p +2.82%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,359.00p +2.63%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 306.60p +2.61%
ITV (ITV) 186.60p +2.53%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,748.00p +2.52%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 325.10p -3.16%
Fresnillo (FRES) 830.00p -2.52%
Tesco (TSCO) 286.55p -2.18%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,678.00p -2.13%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,634.00p -2.08%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 197.50p -1.69%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 905.00p -1.58%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 220.65p -1.47%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 776.00p -1.40%
Sage Group (SGE) 420.80p -1.31%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,433.00p +11.00%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 170.30p +4.54%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,390.00p +4.51%
RPC Group (RPC) 623.50p +3.92%
BTG (BTG) 551.50p +3.67%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 46.60p +3.60%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 317.90p +3.28%
FirstGroup (FGP) 133.40p +3.25%
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN) 106.20p +3.21%
Partnership Assurance Group (PA.) 136.00p +3.03%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Regus (RGU) 197.00p -5.74%
Brown (N.) Group (BWNG) 486.70p -5.13%
Polymetal International (POLY) 548.00p -3.18%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 241.80p -2.62%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 362.00p -2.56%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 191.40p -2.45%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,190.00p -2.32%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 684.00p -2.29%
Synthomer (SYNT) 258.20p -2.20%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 925.50p -2.17%