The FTSE 100 climbed over 7,000 this morning, hitting a 14-month high after the Dow Jones powered to a record high yesterday on the back of strong US economic data.
Strong Chinese numbers overnight further buoyed the mood and the UK blue-chip index was up 27.25, 0.39%, at 7,011 at 9:10am, closing in on a modest 1.4% gain for the week. Miners and banks among the broad brush of stocks leading the market upwards, with the supermarkets all rising in tandem.
Investors were positive after the Dow Jones topped 34,000 for the first ever time, with the S&P 500 also reaching a new peak. Technology shares rebounded on Thursday as Treasury yields fell back and a slew of positive updates, with retail sales surging 9.8% in March and new unemployment claims falling to their lowest level since March 2020- underlined the strength of the economic recovery.
Meanwhile, China reported record 18.3% GDP growth in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, which brought total output close to pre-pandemic levels.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: ‘These are fairly decent numbers; however, they need to be put into the context of the contraction in the Chinese economy a year ago when the country was locked down through February, and March. Despite this caveat it is still an impressive performance, with the Chinese consumer looking particularly strong.’
In the UK, miner Evraz (EVR) topped the leaderboard, up 17p, or 2.8%, to 631p, as investors continued to react positively to its plans to demerge its coal assets announced yesterday.
Industrial software group Aveva (AVV) was the biggest faller, down 1.5% to £37.83, despite not having posted any updates for over three weeks. Housebuilder Barratt Developments (BDEV) was down 1.4% to 783p, followed by Rightmove (RMV) off 1% to 612p and Taylor Wimpey (TW) nudging 0.8% lower to 190p, although housebuilder supplier CRH (CRH) gained 1.3% to £35.28p.
Mid-caps posted more modest gains than their blue-chip counterparts, with the FTSE 250 slipping 55 points, or 0.25%, to 22,527.
Retailer WH Smith (SMWH) was the biggest winner, as recovery stocks performed strongly, jumping 4% to £19.10. Pets at Home (PETS) was up 2.1% at 460p, with airlines also strong; EasyJet adding 2.4% to £10.14 and Wizz Air (WIZZ) lifting off by 1.8% to £49.99.
In investment trust news, Caledonia Investments (CLDN ) was the top performer in the FTSE 250, up 4.2% to £19.10 after un upgrade to ‘positive’ by analysts at Stifel yesterday.
BlackRock World Mining (BRWM ) gained 1.6% to 631p as miners rallied and Hammerson (HMSO) added 1.4% to 39.9p on more the upbeat mood around retailers.
FTSE 100 listed Pershing Square (PSH ) reflected the overnight rise in the US with a 50p or 1.8% gain to £28.22.
Outside the blue chips, highly-rated life sciences fund Syncona (SYNC ) recovered from a 7% fall in the past week with a 4% or 9.5p rally to 242.5p.
The positive UK mood buoyed Schroder UK Public Private (SUPP ), the distressed former Woodford Patient Capital Trust, which added 0.75p or 2.25% to 33.5p; and also top-performing JPMorgan Mid Cap (JMF ), up 2.1% or 30p to £14.35.
Schroder British Opportunities (SB ) firmed 0.5p to 110.5p after participating in an institutional fund raising by Cera Care, a digital home care provider.
HgCapital Trust (HGT ), the highly rated private equity fund, eased 1.1p to 335.9p after investing £7.4m in German industrial software provider Auvesy alongside the Mercury 3 fund of its fund manager Hg.
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