- FTSE 100 at levels not seen since May
- China manufacturing PMI at seven-month high
- Financials, miners and pharma stocks gain
techMARK 2,642.27 +0.68%
FTSE 100 6,713.18 +0.58%
FTSE 250 15,526.93 +0.21%
UK markets set a fresh five-month high on Thursday as investors celebrated an improved outlook for China and digested a host of upbeat corporate earnings from across the globe.
Strong gains amongst financials, miners and pharmaceutical stocks helped the FTSE 100 higher today, along with upbeat results from blue chips Shire and WPP. Strong earnings from US giants Ford and 3M and European peers Daimler and ABB also gave sentiment a boost on global equity markets today.
London's benchmark index finished up 38.7 points at 6,713.18; it has not closed above this level since May 28th when it finished at 6,762.01.
Global equity markets were on the up after figures from HSBC and Markit showed that activity in China's manufacturing sector rose to a seven-month high. The manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) increased from 50.2 to 50.9, ahead of the consensus forecast of 50.4.
"Anything that's good for Chinese growth is viewed as positive for the global economy, which is why we're seeing European indices on the rise again [...] following the brief pull back yesterday," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Markets largely shrugged off the Eurozone composite PMI, which measures activity in both the services and manufacturing sectors, as it unexpectedly fell from 52.2 to 51.5 in October. Nevertheless, the index remains in growth territory (above 50), which is likely to lift confidence as the region moves out of recession.
Shire surges after Q3 beat
Drugmaker Shire climbed after it increased its full-year earnings growth guidance from "double digit" to "mid-to-high teens" following a better-than-expected third quarter. Heavyweight pharmaceutical peers GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca were also providing a lift on markets this afternoon.
Aberdeen Asset Management was a high riser on the news it was in talks with Lloyds for the potential acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Lloyds, along with banking peers Standard Chartered, RBS and HSBC, were also in demand, as banks rebounded after the announcement of European Central Bank stress tests scared investors yesterday.
The mining sector was putting in a decent performance today as stocks tracked metal prices higher and celebrated the improved outlook for China. Fresnillo and Vedanta were registering decent gains by the close.
Advertising giant WPP advanced after reporting a 7.2% rise in revenue to £8.2bn in the first nine months on the back of acquisitions and new business wins.
Ophir Energy jumped after confirming reports that it will sell a part interest in gas field blocks one, three and four in Tanzania.
Heading the other way was High Street retailer Sports Direct which sank sharply after MASH Holdings, a company wholly owned by founder and Deputy Chairman Mike Ashley, sold 16m shares
(a 2.7% stake) at 662.5p each, a 7.5% discount to Wednesday's closing price. The £106m sale reduced MASH's holding to 61.7%.
Meanwhile, Debenhams tanked after saying it expects the retail marketplace to remain "highly competitive" as it reported full-year profits fell 2.7% to £154m.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,760.00p +9.31%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 450.40p +5.83%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 80.12p +2.84%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,022.00p +2.82%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,462.00p +2.67%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,174.00p +2.62%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,088.00p +2.16%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,597.00p +1.69%
British Land Co (BLND) 623.00p +1.63%
GKN (GKN) 376.20p +1.57%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Sports Direct International (SPD) 685.00p -3.79%
William Hill (WMH) 388.60p -2.61%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 476.70p -1.79%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 959.00p -1.44%
Kingfisher (KGF) 367.90p -1.37%
ITV (ITV) 192.60p -1.23%
Centrica (CNA) 356.70p -1.03%
Diageo (DGE) 2,012.50p -0.81%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,860.00p -0.80%
Next (NXT) 5,210.00p -0.76%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 326.70p +9.12%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 196.10p +6.17%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 265.00p +5.41%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 168.50p +5.38%
Inchcape (INCH) 644.50p +3.53%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 123.50p +2.75%
Man Group (EMG) 90.45p +2.67%
Serco Group (SRP) 552.50p +2.31%
TR Property Inv Trust (TRY) 231.00p +2.30%
Rank Group (RNK) 153.80p +2.19%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Debenhams (DEB) 101.00p -8.76%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 118.20p -4.29%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 118.20p -3.35%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,082.00p -3.31%
Cranswick (CWK) 1,064.00p -3.18%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,020.00p -3.13%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 421.10p -2.97%
Genus (GNS) 1,335.00p -2.84%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 599.50p -2.60%
Alent (ALNT) 346.00p -2.54%