THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE rallies 100 points as fears fade

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Shares in social media site Twitter fell by more than a fifth in early US trading today after the group unveiled a slowdown in new users.

Although the Californian firm posted better-than expected financial numbers, investors were more concerned that the site was failing to attract new members, while current users were refreshing their pages less often. Signs of falling unemployment in the US and comments from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi helped the FTSE 100 rally more than 1.5 per cent yesterday.

Decent jobless claims numbers from America raised expectations ahead of today’s eagerly awaited non-farm payrolls numbers, which are seen as a key measure of the health of the world’s largest economy.

The Footsie added 100.39 points to close at 6,558.28 as traders anticipated that the eurozone’s situation would lead to even cheaper money and perhaps a continental version of quantitative easing.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC, said: “After spending most of the session rising on anticipation of a rate cut, and then dropping briefly when no cut came, European markets rallied higher anyway after Draghi appeared to indicate that only the complexity of the current situation in Europe had prevented action this month.”

Vodafone was the biggest blue chip riser as it shrugged off concerns about recent slowdowns in emerging markets by reporting good numbers from India and Turkey. Its shares climbed almost 4 per cent, up 8p at 223.9p.

Another big riser was Reckitt Benckiser as broker Credit Suisse raised it to “outperform”, sending shares up 155p to 4,812p.

Medical devices firm Smith & Nephew was another stock heading north, up 21.5p to 896p after it posted a rise in fourth quarter profit and said 2014 would see it target higher growth opportunities and continue to focus on improving its efficiency.

But a looming patent cliff at AstraZeneca was of concern to investors after the firm reported a decline in profits for the year and a fourth quarter loss. The shares were 61.5p lower at 3,815.5p.