FTSE hits 2-wk high, aided by Obama’s jobs remark

* FTSE 100 up 1.7 percent

* Energy stocks climb; BP rallies after 32 pct fall

* Kingfisher rises on first-quarter results

By David Brett

LONDON, June 3 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares hit a
two-week high on Thursday after upbeat comments from U.S.
President Barack Obama on upcoming jobs data lifted investor
sentiment, with miners and energy stocks leading the gainers.

By 1037 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 86.23 points, or
1.7 percent, at 5,237.55, after rising as much as 5,262.50 to
hit a two-week high and bouncing back after three straight
sessions of falls.

Obama said on Wednesday he believed that the May employment
report, due on Friday, would show strong growth in U.S.
payrolls. [ID:nN02175839]

“President Obama helped trigger investors into buying
equities on the hope that tomorrow’s jobs data will in fact be
strong,” Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index said.

“We have seen investors coming in to pick up energy firms
and miners after weakness this week.”

Energy stocks led the charge as investors took the
opportunity to pick up bargains such as BP (BP.L: ), up 2.8
percent. The oil major has shed over 30 percent since the Gulf
of Mexico oil spill began over five-weeks ago. [ID:nN03207991]

Crude (CLc1: ) added 0.7 percent, while BG Group (BG.L: ) and
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) gained 2.1 and 1.6 percent
respectively.

Miners found favour, rallying in the wake of Wednesday’s
declines in tandem with a rebound in metals prices.

Xstrata (XTA.L: ), up 2.9 percent, threatened to scrap $5.4
billion in Australian coal and copper projects, blaming a new
mining tax and taking the value of new developments put on hold
to above $20 billion in just a month. [ID:nSGE65201K]

Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ), the world’s largest supplier of
catalytic converters, rose 1.9 percent as it said it expects to
make good progress in the first half of 2010/11 after posting a
5 percent dip in annual underlying pretax profit.

Banks were also some of the top performers, with Lloyds
Banking Group (LLOY.L: ) up 2.3 percent.

KINGFISHER NETS GAIN

Kingfisher (KGF.L: ) climbed 2.8 percent after the home
improvements retailer posted a 15 percent rise in first-quarter
profit as cost savings and reduced losses in China offset a fall
in underlying sales due to poor spring weather.

Advertising firm WPP (WPP.L: ) posted solid gains, adding 3.7
percent, bolstered by a UBS upgrade to “buy”.

While UK corporate growth continues to impress on the
upside, wider macroeconomic fragility remains.

Growth in Britain’s services sector held broadly steady in
May but worries about an impending public spending squeeze took
a toll on new business growth and hiring. [ID:nSLA2HE66M]

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ), which rallied more than 2 percent on Wednesday
after surprisingly strong U.S. housing data and Obama’s
comments, looked set for another bullish session as investors
await more economic data from the world’s biggest economy.

Futures for the S&P 500 (SPc1: ) and Dow Jones (DJc1: ) added
0.6 percent ahead of the latest weekly jobless claims.

Investing Advice

(Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

FTSE hits 2-wk high, aided by Obama’s jobs remark