Markets: Aggreko powers to an all-time high

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SCOTTISH temporary power supplier Aggreko climbed to an all-time high yesterday as investors bought into a rally among London’s biggest stocks.

The Glasgow-based firm gained 57p or 2.7 per cent to 2,162p, as better-than-expected economic data from both sides of the Atlantic added fuel to the market’s recent upward momentum.

The FTSE 100 index closed on a fresh six-month high, up 1.8 per cent or 105 points at 5,901.07 after Britain’s services sector PMI survey and US employment figures both showed evidence of strong recovery.

Insurance firm Admiral topped the blue-chip risers’ board after it announced the extension of contracts with reinsurers such as Hannover and Swiss Re until 2014. There was also no change in the price paid by Admiral, which came as a relief to shareholders after a battering caused by rising claims costs. Shares were 76p higher at 1,038p, a rise of 8 per cent.

Telecoms firm BT was 4 per cent or 8.1p higher at 214p after third-quarter results showing an 18 per cent rise in underlying profits to £628 million impressed traders, even if revenues continue to fall.

But shares in Edinburgh-based online dating firm Cupid were flat despite a broker note comparing the company favourably with America’s hottest IPO prospect.

In a note entitled “Facebook is nostalgia, Cupid is the future”, Numis analyst Ivor Jones said: “The Facebook IPO process, if nothing else, seems to highlight the advantages of investing early in internet success stories. Cupid, already listed, already profitable, offers such an opportunity.”

Shares were flat at 212.75p, still a handsome return for those that bought in at its 60p flotation price.

NEW YORK: A surge in hiring in the world’s largest economy last month drove the Nasdaq to an 11-year high as optmism grew that the US labour market is on a steady path to recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 153.49 points, or 1.21 per cent, at 12,858.90 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed up 19.12 points, or 1.44 per cent, at 1,344.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 45.66 points, or 1.60 per cent, at 2,905.34.