MONDAY MARKET CLOSE: Weir Group jumps as catalysts align

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Drilling and mining equipment maker Weir Group was one of the biggest risers in the FTSE 100 after China posted healthier-than-expected economic growth figures.

Shares in the Glasgow-based firm gained more than 4 per cent as investors also anticipated positive results from a US peer due today. They closed 90p higher at 2,227p.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said Weir was “potentially benefiting from a handful of catalysts including the boom in fracking and shale gas exploration – with success in the US now being looked to for replication elsewhere in the world – and M&A activity in the industry”.

The steady data from China helped the Footsie consolidate the previous week’s advances, with the index making a modest gain of 7.43 points, at 6,836.73.

Banking stocks were under pressure after German peer Deutsche Bank shocked the market by revealing a chunky quarterly loss over the weekend. Barclays was the worst blue chip performer, down 2 per cent at 282.8p, while Royal Bank of Scotland was also on the fallers’ board with a 4.7p fall to 359p. HSBC was off 4.7p to 673p while Lloyds fell 0.3p to 83.2p.

However stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown was among those benefiting from a research note by Credit Suisse that sang the praises of diversified financial firms and dished out a round of target price upgrades. Shares in Hargreaves added 56p or almost 4 per cent at 1,509p.

BT shares suffered following a report that Vodafone and satellite broadcaster BSkyB had explored ways to strengthen themselves against the telecoms firm by collaborating on a high-speed broadband service. BT’s shares were 3.9p lower at 379.5p. BSkyB, which is due to release results next week, was 14p higher at 854p, but Vodafone dropped 0.05p to 239.95p.

Outside the top flight, shares in Mothercare were enjoying some healthy growth after weekend press speculation that Tesco is once again considering a bid for the struggling baby goods retailer. Shares in Mothercare rose 6.3 per cent or 17p to 289p, while Tesco fell 1.5p to 329.56p suggesting the City does not think the tie-up will be beneficial to the supermarket giant.

The US markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day.