Solid manufacturing figures from the Far East provided some contrast with the industrial picture closer to home and helped lift London’s leading share index on Thursday.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index closed exactly 39 points or almost 0.7 per cent higher at 5,791.03 as miners were cheered by recovery hopes for the world’s second biggest economy.
Traders focused on figures confirming the first rise in Chinese manufacturing output for more than a year. There were similar gains on major exchanges in mainland Europe with France’s Cac-40 up by 0.6 per cent while Germany’s Dax rose 0.8 per cent.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “The eurozone might be drifting further into recession, but it seems markets are content to ignore this and focus on figures which suggest that the situation in the global powers of the US and China is improving.”
The pound fell against the dollar and euro after the CBI released another downbeat UK manufacturing survey.
On the FTSE 100, Evraz shares leapt 5 per cent, up 11p to 237.3p, while Xstrata, which was this week given the green light to merge with Glencore, made a 2 per cent gain, up 17p to 1,014p.
Brewing giant SABMiller was the top blue-chip riser after a 12 per cent hike in half-year profits saw shares lift 6 per cent, or 168p to 2,801p.
Insurance giant RSA Group buoyed shares after naming Martin Scicluna as its new chairman, to replace John Napier, who will step down at the end of December after ten years. RSA shares lifted 2 per cent or 2.6p to 113.5p.
Elsewhere, retailer Mothercare jumped 4 per cent as its interim figures confirmed turnaround efforts were paying off, with underlying losses narrowed to £600,000 from
£4.4 million a year earlier.
Shares in the group, which saw UK sales return to positive territory in the second quarter for the first time in two-and-a-half-years, rose 11p to 303p.
DMGT, the owner of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, revealed a 10 per cent rise in annual profits, pushing shares up 11 per cent or 50p to 524p.
NEW YORK: The US market was closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.