FTSE buoyed by property firms

By Tricia Wright

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index rose on Thursday, buoyed by property stocks led by Capital Shopping Centers (CSCG.L: ) on bid interest in the group, while weakness was seen among banks on nagging euro zone debt fears.

By 1220 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 17.45 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,674.55, in thin volumes, with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. The index ended 1.4 percent higher on Wednesday.

Property stocks dominated the top of the blue-chip leader board, after the largest U.S. mall-owner Simon Property (SPG.N: ) flagged a potential offer for Capital Shopping Centers (CSC) (CSCG.L: ), sending CSC’s shares up 10 percent.

Sentiment surrounding the sector was lifted, with Hammerson (HMSO.L: ) up 6.3 percent, British Land (BLND.L: ) 3.1 percent firmer, and Land Securities (LAND.L: ) adding 2.4 percent.

Banking stocks were mixed. Domestically-focused Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) fell on persistent concerns over the risk of contagion from Ireland to other euro zone countries, off 1.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

But the sector was supported by sector heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.L: ), which put on 0.3 percent.

“Every two or three months we seem to have a macro issue which gives the market a wobble and for a period of time it will become the dominant feature,” Paul Kavanagh, a partner at Killik & Co, said.

“But those periods have become shorter and shorter over time so the market tends to become a little bit more resilient to these type of issues, and then it gets back to focusing on earnings again,” he said, pointing out that these remain upbeat.

Miners (.FTNMX1770: ), which have come under pressure recently, extended an advance from Wednesday, with Anglo American (AAL.L: ) adding 1.7 percent, and Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ), 1.5 percent firmer.

Upbeat broker sentiment aided Marks & Spencer (MKS.L: ), up 2 percent, with Arden Partners raising its rating on the shares to a “buy” from “neutral,” citing supportive trading conditions.

Brightening the mood, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed that British retail sales growth accelerated in November, with retailers anticipating demand will hold firm in the crucial Christmas shopping season.

Also supporting the market were comments from Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, testifying to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee along with other Monetary Policy Committee members, reiterating the views of the November inflation report.

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

FTSE buoyed by property firms