Market Report: US resurgence puts the bears to flight

It was a day of two halves today. Pessimists were toppled by bullish traders in the afternoon, and the benchmark index hit its highest point since May 2008, taking it back to the level last seen before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. FTSE Group data show the FTSE 100 index soared 28.38 points to 6,132.36.

Good jobs data from the United States and better-than-expected trading updates from US companies and UK retailers such as Home Retail Group, up 15.1p to 136.6p, helped punters to feel positive.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: "It looks like the Great Rotation out of bonds into equities that's being bandied around at the moment is in full flow as equities have defied the bears once again in today's session."

British punters' interest in US stocks has also been apparent, the online stockbroker Interactive Investor said. It has seen a jump in interest for US stocks from its clients, and Douglas Boyce, head of share dealing at Interactive Investor, said: "There seems to be a clear belief that the US economy is recovering, and right now our clients seem happy to overlook concerns surrounding the budget deficit."

Mr Boyce said interest in Apple is up around 50 per cent for the week so far, after its shares price dropped earlier this week on fears over iPhone demand, while requests for US equities in general is up almost 100 per cent since the start of the year.

British Airways' owner, IAG, flew to the top of the blue-chip index, soaring 8.8p to 211.8p. Investors were very glad it hasn't got any of Boeing's flagship 787 Dreamliners. The planes have been taken out of service after issues with a Japanese model.

Sales were booming at Primark and Twinings owner ABF and the shares climbed 50p to 1,606p.

The publisher and events business Reed Elsevier flogged the screening division of its LexisNexis risk solutions business to a private-equity group, and UBS's scribes think the deal could have raised up to $300m (£187m). UBS's analysts think Reed will plough the cash into share buybacks. Reed's shares booked in a 9.5p gain to 678.5p.

Banks were still in focus, and the ratings agency Fitch said the safeguards of an "electric" ring fence and "sibling" structure for UK retail banks could actually "make the separation from the rest of a banking group more effective and benefit the credit profile of the retail bank". Barclays rose 2.65p to 296.05p and Royal Bank of Scotland was up 3.7p to 353.8p, but Lloyds Banking Group lost 0.27p to 53.28p.

Investors in the property company Hammerson are breathing a sigh of relief after the Brent Cross-owner kissed and made up with its bitter Australian rival Westfield. Westfield, which already owns and runs giant malls in the east and west of London, had been planning a huge new scheme in Croydon. At the same time, Hammerson had been buying up assets in the town and planned its own version of a shopper's paradise. The two squared up and spent the past year trying to insist they would be the best to build a £1bn scheme. The news that the two are at peace sent Hammerson's shares up 4.9p to 487.7p. Jefferies' property guru, Mike Prew, views their plans as a "very sensible compromise to redevelop the centre". Mr Prew gives Hammerson a hold rating with a share price target of 482.8p. The insurance group Aviva is selling its 49 per cent share in its Malaysian business to Sun Life for £152m, and the shares edged down 0.1p to 368p.

Over on the mid-tier index, the cash-and-carry business Booker reported a rise in sales, but its shares only edged forward 0.2p to 98.9p.

The lorry-spotters' favourite, Stobart Group, warned that its full-year operating performance would be slightly below market expectations, and the shares motored down 2.5p to 92.55p.

The Tanzania-focused gold company African Barrick Gold, which had been a takeover target for China National Gold until talks collapsed earlier this month, posted a 9 per cent drop in annual production. But it had witnessed a pick-up in the fourth quarter. African Barrick put on 1.5p to 350p.

On AIM, Quadrise Fuels updated on its progress on producing shipping fuel and the shares gushed up 1.12p to 13p.

Lansdowne Oil said it continues to progress farm-out talks with interested parties and its shares jetted up 1.25p to 54.25p.

Nature Group, the maritime and off-shore waste specialist, has won a contract in Tanzania and its shares ticked up 3p to 24p.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003