FTSE 100 boosted by Fed and ECB policy minutes - London Report

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The London market soared yesterday, pushed higher by stronger than forecast re­sults at Royal Mail and more signals of an interest rate rise from the US. The blue-chip index closed up 0.8 per cent at 6,329.93, its fourth consecutive day of gains.

The minutes of the policy-setting Fed committee, released after the close on Wednesday, revealed that most members expect a US interest rate hike next month.

Stocks got a further boost from the minutes from the European Central Bank’s October meeting, showing policy makers considered, but decided against, boosting the monetary stimulus in October.

Big miners continued with their run of wins, with Glencore up 0.79 per cent to 94.1p, Anglo American 0.29 per cent higher at 450.8p, while Antofagasta climbed 0.2 per cent to 501p.

The Office for National Statistics released numbers showing retail sales fell by more than expected in October, however the market shrugged off the fall in the run up to Christmas.

“Retailers may be busy planning for Black Friday, but these figures suggest that shoppers are preparing too. Whereas there was a sudden fall in sales in the days running up to the event last year, that dip started more than a month in advance this time around,” said Keith Richardson, head of retail at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Defence contractor BAE Systems managed another raise up 1.57 per cent to 484.10p, surging on a contract win following days of rises after governments announce bigger defence spending.

The biggest faller in the FTSE 250 was discount chain Poundland, which reported it was hit by higher store opening costs and adding that trading conditions in its third quarter so far have been “highly volatile”.

Pre-tax profit at the store fell 26 per cent to £9.3m in the six months to 27 September.

Shares were trading down 20 per cent to 222.70p.

“The price war which has been waged by the major supermarkets is spilling over into the bargain basement with Poundland seeing a 26 per cent drop in first-half profits,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said in a note.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index for the day were Johnson Matthey up 9.6 per cent p at 2,694p, CRH up 5.5 per cent at 1,875p, Royal Mail up five per cent at 476.7p.

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