Market Report: ECB hint sees markets recover

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The Independent Online

The City was in a good mood yesterday, buoyed by the European Central Bank hinting at action next month and the markets recovered some of their recent falls.

The ECB President Mario Draghi left interest rates at a record low but indicated that he could take action once the emerging markets hysteria had calmed. The FTSE 100 recovered 1.55 per cent – up 100.39 points to 6,558.28, but still more than 4 per cent down on the year.

Better jobless claims figures from the US also boosted sentiment. Markets also had to pick through an apparent trading blip put down to another "fat finger". Dax futures fell 2 per cent as the ECB announced its rate decision but then recovered immediately, which sent panic through trading floors for a few moments.

The owner of Clearasil, Cillit Bang and Dettol was in focus as M&A rumours re-emerged, and Credit Suisse rated Reckitt Benckiser a buy. Speculation about it looking at US group Merck's consumer healthcare business and rumours of when it will sell its pharmaceutical division helped it up 155p to 4,812p. Credit Suisse raised its price target to 5,200p.

Drugs group AstraZeneca was unhealthily close to the bottom of the benchmark index when it reported an 8 per cent fall in sales to $25.7bn (£15.8bn) for last year and it fell 61.5p – to 3,815.5p

Talk of pay-TV plans and better results from its Indian and Turkish businesses helped Vodafone to the top spot – up 8p to 223.9p.

Over on the mid-cap division, graphic technology specialist Imagination Technologies rose 23p to 185.1p on news Apple has extended its partnership for the know-how to power graphics on iPads and iPhones.

AIM-listed oil and gas explorer President Energy raised £30.7m through a share placing to fund its plan for drilling in Paraguay, and it slipped 11.25p to 35p.

Leather specialist Pittards said trading last year was in line with expectations with pre-tax profit of £2.7m and it hired Godfrey Davis, chairman at luxury leather brand Mulberry, as a non-executive director. Pittards perked up 12.5p to 177.5p.

News of a new order for JSJS Designs for its internet-controlled heating products helped it warm up 0.1p to 0.87p.