EU data boost FTSE amid hope for China upturn - London Report

The UK’S top share index rallied yesterday, extending its gains from the previous session with a boost from better-than-expected Eurozone second quarter GDP data and hope for further market stimulus on Chinese markets.

The FTSE 100 was up 1.2 per cent at 6,146.10 points at the close, lagging blue-chip German stocks.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said gross domestic product in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose 0.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period, a 1.5 per cent year-on-year rise.

This was a revision of the previously reported 0.3 per cent quarterly rise and 1.2 per cent year-on-year gain.

Data for German exports and imports hit record highs in value terms in July, climbing 2.4 and 2.2 percent respectively, beating a Reuters poll.

Although disappointing Chinese import data for August raised concerns about the growth outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, some saw it as a sign that Beijing would do more to support the economy.

“[There is some] hope that you’ve got a lot more stimulus on the way from China,” said Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG.

Financial companies with exposure to emerging markets were among top gainers, with Aberdeen Asset Management and British lender Standard Chartered both trading up around three per cent.

The FTSE 350 banking sector index, was up 1.71 per cent, posting its biggest daily gain since late August.

Whitbread was the biggest faller, dropping 1.6 per cent after posting slowing second-quarter sales growth. The company, which owns Premier Inn hotels and Costa Coffee, said it expected to cut spending and increase some prices to counter the cost of the higher national living wage.

FTSE mid-caps were led by insurer Amlin’s, whose stock surged by 33 per cent to an all-time high after Japan’s MS&AD agreed to buy the UK rival.

Despite figures showing British retail spending stagnated last month, stocks in online retailer AO World rose 10.1 per cent after the company announced the appointment of Mark Higgins as chief financial officer and executive director of the company with effect from 1 October.