Thur City brief: China slowdown lifts market

The FTSE 100 rallied in afternoon trade on the back of contracting Chinese manufacturing activity, raising hopes for further stimulus from Beijing.

The Footsie ended the day up 25.43 points at 7,053.67, well above the intraday low of 6,995.79.

Greek prime minster Alexis Tsipras called for the speeding up of talks to reach a reform-for-cash deal with creditors as a German official was quoted as saying that while Berlin wants to keep Greece in the euro area, “time is running short”.

UK public-sector net borrowing figures gave the market a lift. The deficit was revised down to £87.3 billion for the 2014/15 fiscal year, below the £90.2bn budget forecast.

But UK retail sales fell 0.5% in March due to a decline in fuel sales.

In corporate news first quarter like-for-like sales growth from WPP was slightly slower than hoped, though profits and margin at the advertising and PR giant were “well above target” and the outlook statement was unchanged.

Miners were the day’s best performers: Anglo American 1,062p +4.73%,  Rio Tinto 2,958p +3.30% and BHP Billiton 1,531.50p +3.27%.

Sainsbury (J) closed at 267p +1.52% after announcing 800 jobs would be lost as part of a cost-cutting exercise.


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