FTSE ends the session comfortably higher on hopes of QE
20th June 2012
END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended the day comfortably higher, after benign UK jobless data and indications that the BoE came close to voting through an increase in QE at the last meeting of the MPC.
At the close of business, the FTSE100 was up 35.98 points at 5,622.29 with the FTSE250 ahead 151.88 points at 11,022.81 and the FTSE Smallcaps 13.19 points better at 2,960.77.
US stocks were little changed in late morning trade, with investors sitting on their hands ahead of the Fed prognostications.
Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12 points at 12,825, the S&P500 lost 2 points at 1,356 and the Nasdaq Composite was flat at 2,930.
Investors were in cautious mood ahead of the results of the latest meeting of the US Federal Reserve, hoping to see some fresh stimulus measures to boost growth.
Meanwhile, news that the BoE Governor was outvoted on raising QE in the last MPC meeting raised expectations of more stimulus in the UK soon. The MPC voted 5-4 to hold the level. Benign unemployment data also helped lift sentiment, as did news that a new Greek Prime Minister has been sworn in.
Business software giant Sage Group topped the leaderboard, rising 14p at 267.5p after announcing it has acquired a controlling interest in Folhamatic Group, a provider of accounting, tax and payroll and regulatory content software in Brazil.
Costa Coffee and Premier Inn owner Whitbread continued to attract buyers following yesterday's strong results, up a further 92p at 2,059p.
Broadcaster ITV was a star attraction, with a gain of 2.25p at 76.5p as Panmure Gordon came out in support, keeping its buy rating on the stock and its 125p target price.
Financial stocks were positive, with Barclays the best of the banks, up 5.15p at 205.75p. Lloyds added 0.3p at 31.2p and Royal Bank of Scotland advanced 4.3p at 247.6p.
Aviva led a buoyant insurance sector higher, gaining 12.5p at 279.1p, while Legal & General climbed 1.7p at 124.3p and Prudential ticked up 11.5p at 742.5p.
News from pharma giant AstraZeneca that it has completed its acquisition of California-based biotech company Ardea Biosciences for $1.2bn helped push the shares along 6.5p at 2,766.5p.
Miners recovered from a slow start. Anglo American added 45p at 2,215p, Antofagasta rose 26p at 1,122p and investors warmed to Rio Tinto plans to invest heavily in iron ore production as the shares rose 44p at 3,095p.
On the downside, Randgold Resources dropped 40p at 5,995p and Fresnillo lost 6p at 1,543p as the price of gold headed back towards $1,600 an ounce.
Oil industry service group Petrofac slipped 57p at 1,455p, despite confirming, with partner Schlumberger, it has been declared selected bidder on the Pánuco production service contract in Mexico.
Retailers had a mixed day, with supermarket operator Morrisons down 3.4p at 272.9p after Santander downgraded the stock from buy to hold and slashed its target price from 325p to 290p. Elsewhere, Tesco rose 1.75p at 309.65p and Sainsbury gained 4.7p at 293.2p, while fashion retailer Next lost 6p at 3,193p and midcap Kesa Electricals slipped 2.75p at 52.5p after dismal results.
Household products makers were hit by US rival Procter & Gamble cutting its Q4 outlook, with Reckitt Benckiser down 30p at 3,367p and Unilever off 13p at 2,062p.
Severn Trent was the worst performer of the day, down 115p at 1,634p, while United Utilities fell 13.5 at 656p, with both turning ex-dividend. The same fate befell credit checker Experian, down 4p at 934p.
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