Markets salute Italian government

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Further signs of political stability in Italy helped European markets start the week on the front foot yesterday.

London’s FTSE 100 was less enthusiastic than its continental counterparts but still added a healthy 31.6 points or 0.5 per cent to 6,458.02, bolstered by a steady feed of reasonable economic news from the US.

William Nicholls, a dealer for Capital Spreads, said: “The FTSE 100 has started the week fairly quietly but on the right footing. Markets have been buoyed by the formation of an Italian government, but surely also due to the expectation of a rate cut in the eurozone this week.”

Aberdeen Asset Management was the biggest mover as shares soared by 8 per cent after profits beat expectations. The stock was up 33.4p at 450.5p as the Scottish wealth manager also hiked its interim dividend by more than a third.

Publishing firm Reed Elsevier slipped 14p at 761.5p after a downgrade from Citigroup, while chemicals group Croda International dropped 76p at 2,449p after having its price target reduced by UBS.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Edinburgh-based dating firm Cupid added more than 10 per cent, up 6.75p at 72.75p, in a sign that it is beginning to find favour with investors again. The shares have been volatile since the price collapsed earlier this year amid rumours that the firm used fake profiles on its matchmaking websites. The company has since denied the accusations.

Shares in Croma, the security firm run by former members of the Black Watch, were down again following Friday’s profit warning even as three of its directors showed faith by increasing their holdings in the group. The shares were down a further 0.25p at 19p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street extended its rally last night, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index ending at an all-time high as growth-oriented stocks like energy and technology led the way.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 105.21 points, or 0.72 per cent, to close at 14,817.76 while the broader S&P 500 closed up 11.29 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 1,593.53, surpassing the previous record of 1,593.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 27.76 points, or 0.85 per cent, at 3,307.02.

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