Markets: Metals miss out in fourth day of gains

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STEEL maker Evraz felt the wrath of the market yesterday after it scrapped its final dividend in the face of a precarious global outlook.

Shares in the Russian group were 11.4 per cent lower at 185.8p after it unveiled a net loss for last year, causing other metals firms to miss out on a fourth day of gains for the wider market.

Mike van Dulken, head of ­research at Accendo Markets, said the reaction to Evraz’s update highlighted the importance of even a small dividend.

He added: “The company finds itself at the bottom of the FTSE 100 in terms of market capitalisation. The prospect of relegation at the next review of the UK flagship index may also hinder any advances.”

Gold, silver and copper miners also suffered from weaker prices with Randgold ­Resources slipping 2.7 per cent to 5,195p as investment bank Goldman Sachs recommended shorting the yellow metal.

The Footsie itself was ­buoyed by solid results from the retail sector, helping the index climb 28.77 points or almost 0.5 per cent to 6,416.14. High street bellwether Marks & Spencer’s better-than-expected results saw it top the risers’ board, up 4.3 per cent at 400.4p, and helped fashion house Burberry add 38p to 1,318p. Next was 1.5 per cent firmer at 4,336p as decent updates from WH Smith and Mothercare also put paid to fears that retailers had been hammered by the snow-hit start to the year and the recent, prolonged cold spell. WH Smith added 6.5 per cent at 793.5p and Mothercare surged more than 8 per cent at 315.75p.

Investment manager Ashmore was also a gainer in the second tier after reporting an increase in funds under management in the third quarter, with shares leaping 13 per cent to 401p. This helped rival Aberdeen Asset Management creep up 2 per cent to 424p.

In New York, stocks also rose for a fourth day on Thursday, sending the Dow up 62.90 to close at 14,865.14 as positive data on the labour market and retail outlook eased recent concerns about economic growth.

Jobless claims fell far more than expected in the latest week in another sign the American economy might be in better shape than some recent data had indicated.