THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: China data lifts FTSE

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The FTSE 100 gained almost 1 per cent as traders put aside concerns over tapering from the US Federal Reserve and concentrated on the improving signals coming from the world’s manufacturing powerhouses.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said: “After the Fed induced declines of recent days it’s nice to see markets concentrating on the more mundane drivers of economic data and reacting to a broad improvement in manufacturing data from both China and Germany.”

The FTSE 100 Index weakened slightly towards the close but was still up 56.03 points on the day, at 6,446.87.

With the Chinese manufacturing PMI data for August coming in well above expectations, mining stocks got a boost in line with the health of their best customer.

Fresnillo lead the way, up more than 4 per cent at 1,215p. The news also helped Glencore Xstrata recover from its recent funk following a £4.9 billion writedown on China. The recently-formed conglomerate jumped 3 per cent to 313.85p.

Engineering company IMI was the top flight’s biggest riser after reporting a modest increase in pre-tax profits. It gave an upbeat assessment of its prospects between now and the end of the year, helping its stock add 82p or 5.8 per cent at 1,491p.

Wood Group reversed early losses to recover some ground following the sell off after cautious outlook statement earlier this week. Shares in the Aberdeen-based energy services company added 7.5p to close at 818p despite a broker downgrade from HSBC.

News of the latest financial mis-selling scandal had a dire effect on CPP’s shares. The credit card insurer plunged 27 per cent or 5.5p to 14.8p, with news of a settlement coming after the firm was already fined £10.5 million for mis-selling.

Banking shares shrugged off the compensation blow, with Royal Bank of Scotland up 8.9p to 343p and Lloyds Banking Group ahead 0.8p to 74.6p despite being listed among those due to offer redress.

Infrastructure group Costain was up more than 3 per cent after reporting a 20 per cent hike in its order book. Its shares were 9.25p higher to 290p despite a fall in profits.