London Report: Morrisons forecast and plans for cuts at Barclays lift FTSE

BRITAIN’S top shares neared nine-week highs yesterday led by Barclays after it announced a revival plan, while investors also welcomed the possibility of more stimulus steps from the European Central Bank in June.

Barclays was the standout gainer on the FTSE 100, up 7.9 per cent after it announced 19,000 job cuts in the next three years and set up a “bad bank”.

Morrisons, was the second-best blue-chip riser. The chain kept its profit forecast for the year after March’s warning, prompting some investors to close out their hefty negative bets on the stock.

Sage Group shares fell 5.3 per cent on results and news that its chief executive Guy Berruyer will step down.

The FTSE 100 ended up 42.81 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 6,839.25 points, its highest close since 24 February.

The ECB, which is trying to counter the risk of excessively low inflation in the Eurozone, kept rates on hold, but president Mario Draghi said the council “was comfortable” with the idea of acting next month, after its staff forecasts are published.