Housebuilders lead the way as FTSE climbs to four-week highs

 
Callum Keown
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The FTSE 100 has now climbed 2.6 per cent so far this year (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 has climbed one per cent in early trading as US-China trade talks and a housebuilder boost continued the index’s bright start to the year.


The blue chip index has now risen 2.6 per cent so far this year as the third day of trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies further encouraged global markets.

UK housebuilders were buoyed by resilient Taylor Wimpey results in the face of a slowing housing market, and a 1.3 per cent rise in house prices in December.

Taylor Wimpey - the FTSE 100’s biggest riser - jumped 6.3 per cent, Persimmon rose five per cent, Barratt Developments climbed 4.2 per cent and Bellway increased 3.3 per cent.

FTSE 100 biggest risers


Taylor Wimpey +6.48 per cent
Persimmon +4.9 per cent
ITV +4.79 per cent
GVC Holdings +4.62 per cent
Wood Group +4.41 per cent

“The housebuilders are enjoying a particularly positive session after Taylor Wimpey’s surprisingly robust earnings data pre-market,” IG analyst Joshua Mahony said.

“Fears over the housing market in the face of Brexit uncertainty have done little to dent the firm’s performance, with home completions rising three per cent,” he added.

The index’s sharpest fallers were Vodafone - down 1.7 per cent - and packaging company Smurfit Kappa, which fell 1.4 per cent.

FTSE 100 sharpest fallers

Vodafone -1.67 per cent
Smurfit Kappa -1.36 per cent
Land Securities -0.77 per cent
Hargreaves Lansdown -0.6 per cent
Hikma -0.53 per cent

The third day of negotiations between US and Chinese officials in Beijing also lifted the UK and European markets, as the prolonged talks raised hopes of a resolution to the long-running standoff.

The German Dax has climbed 0.9 per cent and the French CAC has risen 1.2 per cent, while all three major US indices closed up last night.

“Hopes of progress with US-China trade talks are certainly giving markets support, so too a lack of major shocks among corporate trading updates in general,” AJ Bell analyst Russ Mould said.