Jobs data helps risk appetite return

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European markets touched new five-year highs yesterday as further evidence that the global economy is turning a corner sent traders piling into cyclical stocks.

In London the FTSE 100 hit an intraday high above 6,540 before eventually settling for a gain of 60.75 points, or almost 1 per cent, at 6,521.46. US jobs figures were the major factor but a positive services sector survey at home also helped.

William Nicholls, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said: “The markets needed a new direction after dithering about for a month unsure about whether they had gone too far – and they’ve got what they wanted, but investors will be hoping that these untested heights will not induce a bout of vertigo.”

Miners led the charge with Antofagasta adding almost 8 per cent to 983p. Glencore Xstrata was 12.8p higher at 343.9p on its first day of trading since the creation of a new natural resources giant.

Eurasian Natural Resources topped the blue chip risers’ board, surging 30.3p or 11.5 per cent to 292.7p on reports that Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov has increased his stake.

Other resource and industrial stocks enjoying the rally included Aberdeen’s Wood Group, up 38p or 5 per cent at 804.5p, and Glasgow’s Weir Group, 85p or 4 per cent higher at 2,203p.

But Royal Bank of Scotland missed out, despite its best quarterly profits haul since 2011, amid anxiety over the challenges still facing it. Shares in the group closed down almost 6 per cent, falling 17.5p to 289.8p, dragging fellow part-nationalised bank Lloyds down 0.2p at 54.1p.

And insurer Direct Line, 48 per cent owned by RBS, was 2.2p lower at 201.6p as it highlighted the difficult car insurance market with a fall in gross premiums.

NEW YORK: The Dow and S&P 500 both advanced to all-time closing highs last night, jumping 1 per cent after an unexpectedly strong April US jobs report eased concerns about an economic slowdown.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 141.23 points, or 0.95 per cent, at 14,972.81 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended up 16.76 points, or 1.05 per cent, at 1,614.35. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 38.01 points, or 1.14 per cent to close, at 3,378.63.