FTSE Nudges Up Again To Win Back Lost Ground

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Better than expected manufacturing data from China seems to have given confidence to traders in London.

The FTSE 100 ended the session up 1.95% at 5671.96, and the FTSE 250 was 3.26% better at 15101.13.

Imperial Brands was the biggest climber, adding 12.29%, while Royal Dutch Shell managed a 7.75% boost.

Other big movers were Flutter Entertainment, up 9.86% and advertising goliath WPP moving  up 6.28%.

The Pound also improved, rising 0.3% on the US Dollar to last trade at $1.2451, and gaining 0.61% on the euro to €1.1305.

The improvement followed news that China’s manufacturing sector bounced back this month from a record low while the country was in the grip of the coronavirus in February.

No UK GDP growth

“China provided Western investors with a light at the end of the tunnel on Tuesday, showing it is possible to return to growth after the worst hopefully of the coronavirus crisis,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

However, grimmer news came out of the UK, where growth sat stubbornly at zero in the last three mnths of 2019, although annual growth was 1.1%.

The figures for the first quarter of this year are expected to be much worse due to the national lockdown.

The only bright spot was supermarkets had their best March ever as the nation stockpiled food and supplies. Shoppers spent £10.8 billion, higher than the money going through tills for Christmas.

“With restaurants and cafes now closed, none of us can eat meals on the go any longer and an extra 503 million meals, mainly lunches and snacks, will be prepared and eaten at home every week for the foreseeable future,” said price tracker Kantor.

Mixed fortunes on foreign markets

In New York, the Dow was 0.61% down to 22191.82 on early trading and the NASDAQ followed with a 0.12% dip to 7764.59.

In Chicago, the S&P 500 was also down 0.66% to 2609.29.

Across Europe the markets were green – with the CAC 40 in Paris up 0.40% to 4396.12; Frankfurt’s DAX rising 1.22% to 9935.84 and the IBEX 50 in Madrid closing up 1.88% at 6y785.40.

Earlier in the day, the Asian markets reflected mixed fortunes.

While the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 1.85% to reach 23603.48, the Nikkei in Tokyo dropped 0.88% to 18917.01.

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