MARKET CLOSE: Rates shake-up cheered by retailers

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THE big retailers found themselves on investors’ shopping lists amid speculation that they could benefit from a plan to overhaul business rates in England.

With poor industrial data from the US helping to ease rate hike worries, the high street buying spree was enough to ensure the FTSE 100 bounced back from last week’s selling.

Tesco have enjoyed a share price recovery. Picture: Getty

Tesco have enjoyed a share price recovery. Picture: Getty

The index was up 63.5 points at 6,804.08, with poor industrial data from the US also contributing as it eased fears of an imminent rate hike.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “The big winners in London have been retailers, with the sector cheered by a myriad of factors.

“The prospect of Tesco selling its data unit to WPP has lifted the stock to the top of the pile but hopes over earnings releases later in the week and news of an ambitious overhaul of business rates is ensuring gains are being seen right across the peer group. Sainsbury’s, Kingfisher, Next and Tesco have collectively seen almost £1.5 billion tacked onto their share price, with Tesco accounting for well over 40 per cent of that.”

Tesco and Sainsbury’s were each about 3.7 per cent higher, with the former up 8.5p at 241.35p and the latter rising 9.5p to 268.6p.

B&Q owner Kingfisher added 12.3p at 367p and fashion chain Next climbed 205p to 7,555p ahead of results later this week which should see it boast an 11.5 per cent jump in profits, to around £775m.

There were modest gains for London’s miners after hints from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang over the weekend that the resource-hungry giant could ease monetary policy further to stimulate flagging growth. Rio Tinto added 38.5p at 2,848p and BHP Billiton was up 26.5p at 1,416p. But there was no respite for the drillers as crude prices remained under pressure from reports of growing stockpiles. Tullow Oil was again the main whipping boy, down almost 6 per cent at 281.2p.

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