FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Late rally seen as bullish signal

The London market defied the stimulus pessimists to put on a late rally that saw the FTSE 100 end its recent losing streak.

The index closed 11.2 points higher at 6,708.42, despite much better-than-expected US jobs numbers which led analysts to warn that the American central bank will stop printing dollars.

William Nicholls, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said: “In recent times, positive economic data, let alone upside surprises like this, have sent investors running through fear of the Fed reducing stimulus sooner. It hasn’t happened this time, and it can’t easily be explained why, but it is certainly a very bullish sign.”

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The Footsie also had some help from positive updates among Britain’s top firms. British Airways-owner International Airlines Group (IAG) soared 8 per cent to 376.9 after a big jump in quarterly profits. Budget peer EasyJet was carried in its wake, climbing 2 per cent to 1,225p.

Rolls-Royce also improved the mood as it lifted profit guidance for its defence aerospace unit. With the outlook for the civil aerospace division also healthy, the shares powered more than 3 per cent higher, up 40p at 1,210p.

Aberdeen Asset Management was the biggest blue chip faller after a report that Australian bank Macquarie is preparing a rival bid for Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. Fears that Aberdeen could be drawn into a bidding war saw the stock slip more than 4 per cent, down 20.2p at 422.2p. The same news was positive for seller Lloyds Banking Group, which saw its shares add 1.29p to 75.16p.

And there was a warm welcome to the market for theme park operator Merlin Entertainments, with shares starting conditional dealings with a rise of near-10 per cent to 347p, having been priced near the top end of expectations at 315p.