End of Tuesday trading saw the FTSE 100 close 45.68 points higher at 7,250.05, a 0.64% climb in total. Best FTSE 100 performer was Intertek Group, up 3.3% to 4,200p while Standard Life and Barratt Developments took second and third spots, up 2.78% and 2.67%.
Standard Life was buoyed by confirmation from Aberdeen Asset Management that the proposed merger remained on schedule.
Miners, though, took flak, not helped by weaker data from China. For example, Antofagasta tumbled -3.52% to 808p while Fresnillo slumped -2.82% to 1411p. Anglo American and Randgold Resources were also down heavily (-2.49% and -2.13%).
Away from the miners, rental equipment player Ashtead Group saw a -1.78% fall while fashion player Burberry slipped -1.18%.
Pound holds steady
The pound got some surprise support from stronger UK manufacturing figures. The broader Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index hit 57.3 for April compared to 54.2 in March, a three year high. (A reading above fifty indicates manufacturing is increasing while a sub-50 reading suggests a contraction.)
"Other surges," warned Markit economist Rob Dobson, "not seen since the middle of last year have generally proved short-lived, as weak wage growth sapped consumer spending."
One City analyst – Nomura – claims the pound could end 2017 as high as $1.37. Nomura claims some of the difficulty of the Brexit negotiations may already be priced in by the market. It also thinks the Bank of England may become more optimistic on UK growth prospects later in the year.
Alitalia workers say No
Elswhere beleaguered Italian national carrier Alitalia – it employs more than 12,000 – is now looking increasingly at bankruptcy after Alitalia workers said no today to a new restructuring deal, including a loss of jobs and pay.
But the mood improved for Greece, not to mention European stocks generally, following progress on a new bailout debt relief deal for the Greek government. This boost saw The Stoxx Europe 600 index climb 0.8% higher to 389.53 – the highest point since midsummer 2015.
At London close of business the Dow Jones was trading at 20,934, up 0.10%. The Nikkei 225 was up 135 points at 19,445.7 while the Hang Seng closed 0.33% at 24,696.13. The pound was 1.292 again the dollar and 1.184 against the euro.