Markets: For once, Spanish news lifts markets

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THE London market made a flying start to the new quarter yesterday as traders reacted to news over the weekend that Spain’s banking crisis was not quite as bad as previously thought.

Economic data from the eurozone’s largest economies was also better than expected.

Michael Hewson, senior analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Concerns about the viability or otherwise of last week’s Spanish bank stress tests appear to have been put to one side for now.”

The FTSE 100 Index was 78.4 points higher at 5,820.5. Financial stocks were among the biggest movers with Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland leading the gainers after being on the end of a broker upgrade from Liberum Capital. RBS was 9.4p ahead at 266.4p and Lloyds advanced 1.1p to 39.97p. Barclays joined the party with a rise of more than 3 per cent or 7.5p to 222.4p.

The support of Xstrata’s board for the takeover by Glencore International ensured the blue-chip miner’s shares rose 22.5p to 980p. Expectations that the deal will trigger further merger and acquisition activity in the sector spurred on rival miners and resource firms with Anglo American up 74p to 1,891p and Eurasian Natural Resources leaping 6.8p to 315.5p. Glencore closed down 1.1p at 342p, despite spending much of the session ahead.

Supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Morrisons featured on the fallers’ board after rival Aldi said cash-strapped shoppers were continuing to transfer their allegiances in the hunt for cheaper deals. Sainsbury’s was down 1.7p at 345.8p while Morrisons was off 1.6p at 283.6p.

Shares in wealth manager Charles Stanley fell more than 3 per cent, down 9.5p at 264.5p, after it said half-year revenues were likely to be flat.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 kicked off a new quarter with a modest rally last night, lifted by a surprising expansion in US manufacturing in September.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 77.91 points, or 0.58 per cent, to end at 13,515.04 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 3.80 points, or 0.26 per cent, to finish at 1,444.48. But the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 2.70 points, or 0.09 per cent, to close at 3,113.53, weakness in tech companies keeping the index in negative territory.