DATA RELEASED yesterday showing that Britain’s manufacturing sector grew at the fastest pace in eight months prompted investors to buy equities on the first trading day of the quarter.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 0.5 per cent higher at 6,809.50 points after a 1.7 per cent slide on Tuesday that trimmed its first quarter gains to 3.2 per cent.
Among sharp movers, Asos rose 2.7 per cent after saying it was confident of hitting profit expectations for its 2014/15 financial year. Although Asos posted a 10 per cent fall in first-half profit, it exceeded forecasts.
Among sectoral gainers, the UK oil and gas index advanced 1.4 per cent, tracking a sharp rally in Brent crude oil prices as talks over Iran’s nuclear programme continued, curbing expectations of an immediate deal that would allow Iranian crude on to the market.
The banking index, which fell 1.7 per cent on Tuesday, rose 1.1 per cent on expectations an economic recovery will help cyclicals such as banks. Barclays rose 2.8 per cent, while Lloyds gained 1.4 per cent.