Weir jumps 4% as FTSE makes gains

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Weir Group, the Glasgow-based engineer, enjoyed a share boost following upbeat comments from brokers at Bank of America.

The firm was up 4.2 per cent as BofA highlighted further upside to Weir’s current share price. It was also lifted by news that United States-based peer Lufkin had agreed to a $3 billion (£2bn) takeover approach from conglomerate General Electric.

BofA stuck with its “buy” rating for Weir in a research report but also raised its target price from 2,300p to 2,500p. The stock closed up 92p at 2,276p.

On a quiet day for corporate announcements, and with the general news agenda dominated by the passing of Baroness Thatcher, the benchmark FTSE 100 index gained 27.16 points or 0.4 per cent to 6,276.94. Once again, economic events were focused on the eurozone, and in particular Portugal.

David Madden, market analyst at IG, said: “Equities are slightly higher as the Portuguese prime minister calls for larger cuts to government spending after the constitutional high court blocked the increase in taxation.

“Pedro Passos Coelho is heading down the Irish route of sticking with the austerity package to, hopefully, lower the cost of borrowing, and ultimately reduce Portugal’s dependence on Brussels.”

Airline and travel firms made headway as nervousness over a recent outbreak of deadly bird flu in China began to fade. Stocks fell sharply on Friday after authorities ordered the slaughter of all poultry at a Shanghai market. However, there was a recovery for TUI Travel on the FTSE 100, ahead 3.8p at 302.4p. FTSE 250 rival Thomas Cook added almost 2 per cent, a gain of 1.9p to 107.7p.

Banks were under pressure with Lloyds Banking Group down 0.71p at 46.31p and Royal Bank of Scotland off 3.4p at 266.1p.

NEW YORK: US stocks ended a volatile session higher as investors looked ahead to an earnings season expected to show modest growth. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 48.23 points to 14,613.25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 9.79 points at 1,563.07. The Nasdaq Composite index was up 18.39 points at 3,222.25.