Commods, banks help FTSE snap losing streak

By Joanne Frearson

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s leading share index rose on Wednesday, clawing back some of the losses made in the past three sessions, with commodities boosted by upbeat Chinese data and banks rallying after being hit by sovereign debt concerns.

The FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index gained 114.23 points, or 2.1 percent, to 5,642.50, having ended November back at levels not seen since mid-September.

“There has been good news consistently across the globe, starting with the Chinese PMIs. UK manufacturing data was also much better than expected and the U.S. figures were good,” Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin, said.

China’s official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) climbed to a seven-month high in November, while British manufacturing activity last month unexpectedly rose to a 16-year high.

In the U.S., manufacturing grew for a 16th month and the private sector posted its largest jobs gain in three years.

“What it tells us is the corporate sector is taking a very positive outlook and that has got to be good for equities,” Lenhoff said.

Commodity stocks were big movers on the index, tracking firmer metal and crude prices after the Chinese data suggested demand was robust.

Miners Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: ), Antofagasta (ANTO.L: ) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) gained 3.4 to 5.3 percent, while Xstrata (XTA.L: ) jumped 5.8 percent, also buoyed by a bullish note from Barclays Capital.

Oil stocks BG Group (BG.L: ), BP (BP.L: ) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) rose 0.9 to 2.7 percent.

Banks were also in demand and featured among the top performers after being sold off in previous sessions on worries about the euro zone debt crisis.

British banks Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) rose 4.6 to 6.1 percent.

Insurer Prudential (PRU.L: ) gained 5.5 percent after it announced plans to double new business profits in Asia by 2013.


Among individual risers, Sage Group (SGE.L: ) was 5.3 percent higher after the British accountancy software company’s results beat full-year expectations.

Though the market moved higher, some traders were cautious.

“It certainly looks like there has been a base put under the market. Ultimately I think the stage has been set for the market to move higher, although uncertainty will keep something of a lid on it,” said Yusef Heusen, senior sales trader at IG Index.

BAE Systems (BAES.L: ) slipped 1 percent, knocked by a bearish sector note by Goldman Sachs, with the broker reiterating its “conviction sell” on the company.

Ex-dividend factors accounted for the two heaviest FTSE 100 fallers, Severn Trent (SVT.L: ) and National Grid (NG.L: ), while Land Securities (LAND.L: ) and Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ) lost their payout attractions on Wednesday.

(Additional reporting by Jon Hopkins; Editing by David Hulmes)

Commods, banks help FTSE snap losing streak