US results season points FTSE higher

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AMERICAN aluminium giant Alcoa gave London’s miners a lift when it kick started the latest US earnings season with better-than-expected results.

Commodity stocks were 
also helped by an easing in 
Chinese inflation, which analysts said gives the world’s second largest economy more wriggle room for growth-boosting measures.

William Nicholls, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said: “China consumes around 40 per cent of the world’s metal, therefore the economic outlook in China has a large influence within the mining sector.”

Vedanta Resources was the biggest riser, adding more than 
5 per cent at 1,116p ahead of 
today’s results announcement.

Eurasian Natural Resources and Rio Tinto were up 5.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively at 260p and 3,135p.

The heavyweight sector ensured that the FTSE 100 index continued the recovery it began on Monday, closing 36.27 points or 0.6 per cent higher at 6,313.21.

Banks were also in the ascendant thanks to the hints of an improving global outlook. Barclays added 8.8p to 286p as it bounced back from three-month lows after an upbeat note from JP Morgan Cazenove, while Royal Bank of Scotland rose 7.8p to 273.9p on talk of a bid for 300 of its branches from hedge fund investors. Lloyds Banking Group also made gains, adding 0.9p to 47.2p.

Drinks giant Diageo was the largest faller even as Nomura upped its target price on Scotland’s largest whisky distiller. The broker also said the sector was looking pricey, and Diageo’s shares slipped 51.5p to 1,965.5p.

Outside of the top flight, FirstGroup gained 5.8 per cent or 2.9p to 206.7p, as brokers said confirmation that the Aberdeen-based transport firm would meet city expectations for the last financial year was a step in the right direction.

NEW YORK: US stocks rose, with the Dow closing at a record high on a rally in cyclical shares and as the first impressions of the earnings season were positive.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 59.98 points at 14,673.46, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 5.54 points at 1,568.61, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 15.61 points at 3,237.86.