At the close: FTSE pushed higher by banks and miners, as Tesco and Premier Foods fall

Billy Bambrough
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Tesco shares fell today despite a return to profit for grocer (Source: Getty)

Banks and miners moved the FTSE 100 higher today as data from China reassured investors over growth in the world's second largest economy, adding more than 100 points to the index's rise.

The FTSE 100 ended the day at its highest for four months at 6,362.89 points, up 120.50 points, or 1.9 per cent.

Tesco shed 7.8 per cent as investors fretted over the supermarket's near-term outlook and the on-going industry price war that's putting pressure on profits.

Read more: Tesco's share price has recovered this year

Rival supermarket chain Sainsbury's was flat, while Morrisons was dragged down two per cent.

Shares rallied from the open on the latest sign that the process of rebalancing China's economy is on course.

Exports from China jumped by 11.5 per cent in March in dollar terms - the first monthly increase since last summer and well above economists’ expectations.

The data put a floor under commodities, with the mining sector up 6.9 per cent. Oil also managed to hold onto its recent gains with Brent crude trading at $44.32 per barrel at the close.

Anglo American lead the miners, rising by 11 per cent, shortly trailed by BHP Billiton's 9.1 per cent rise. 

Rio Tinto, Glencore, and Antofagasta rose by 7.6 per cent, 6.7 per cent, and 5.1 per cent respectively. 

Emerging market focused banks lead financials higher. Standard Chartered added 10.6 per cent and HSBC climbed by 6.6 per cent. 

Other banks did well following better than expected results from US bank JP Morgan. Overall profits came in at $1.35 a per share, on revenue of $24.1bn (£16.92bn). Analysts were expecting earnings per share of $1.24 on revenue of $23.80bn, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Barclays rose by 7.1 per cent, while Royal Bank of Scotland increased 5.9 per cent. 

Amid small caps Premier Foods slumped 26.8 per cent after potential US buyer McCormick walked away from the a takeover proposal.

Read more: Top shareholder slams Premier Food over failed bid talks

The loss far from wipes out the gains Premier made since March 23, when it rejected McCormick's initial bid. It's still up 36 per cent since then. 

FTSE 250 constituent Tullow Oil rose 11.4 per cent as investors cross their fingers the world's oil producers will be able to do a deal to freeze output levels on Sunday. 

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