THE FTSE 100 edged into positive territory after two days of declines as positive growth figures from the five biggest members of the eurozone boosted sentiment.
The top-flight index closed 15.83 points higher at 6,949.63 following the previous session’s near-100 point slide after a rout in bond markets.
Weaker bond prices have worried investors because the subsequent impact on borrowing costs weighs on economic activity at a time when many countries are still struggling to recover. But a calmer session for bonds was accompanied by figures showing a better-than-expected performance from the eurozone economy in the first quarter of the year.
In the UK, employment and wage figures showed a brighter picture of the recovery although the Bank of England’s latest report downgraded growth forecasts for the full year. Governor Mark Carney warned that persistent headwinds continued to weigh on the UK economy and that this would mean more gradual increases in interest rates than previously seen.
Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, said: “A strong UK jobs report, coupled with a more dovish Mark Carney than usual played into the bullish sentiment already evident within the markets.”
In corporate news, Barratt Developments was among the biggest risers in the FTSE 100 after the housebuilder raised its guidance for housing completions to about 16,100 for the current financial year.
Shares were 3 per cent or 18.5p higher at 564p in the session, which also saw rival Persimmon rise 72p to 1,820p.
The biggest blue-chip risers were paper maker Mondi, up 116p at 1,414p, and miner Fresnillo 36p ahead at 749.5p. The biggest fallers were catering giant Compass Group, down 44p at 1,119p, and holidays firm Tui off 46p at 1,207p.