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FTSE 100 bursts through 7,000; Ocado backs self-drive firm
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4.30pm: FTSE 100 back above 7,000
London’s top stocks surged through the 7,000 barrier for the first time since February 2020 as investors were encouraged by Chinese growth figures which show GDP jumped to a record 18.3% in the first quarter from 6.5% in the final quarter of last year.
Retail spending in China rose 34.2% in March, up from 33.8% in February and above consensus expectations.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.52% at 7,019.53, and the FTSE 250 was 0.22% firmer at 22,522.18.
Positive numbers from the US banks helped give financials a bit of a leg up, with Barclays leading the banks higher.
High Street retailers Next and JD Sports also had a good day.
Online supermarket Ocado rose 1.87% after saying it was investing £10m in Oxbotica, an autonomous vehicle software company (see below).
8.30am: London stocks push through threshold
The FTSE 100 burst through 7,000 at the open, as traders picked up on growing optimism in Asia after China’s economy surged 18.3% in the first quarter.
London’s blue chip index was up 35 points at 7,018.
British Airways owner IAG topped the risers, up 2.88%, followed by BT Group, up 2.39% and Roman Abramovich’s steel maker Evraz which was 2.35% higher.
Banks were also on the rise, NatWest Group (RBS) was up 2.24% and Barclays 2.23%.
7am: Ocado invests in Oxbotica
Online grocer Ocado Group has commercially partnered with self-driving vehicles developer Oxbotica.
The use of these vehicles ranges from vehicles inside Ocado’s Customer Fulfilment Centre buildings and the yard areas that surround them, all the way to last-mile deliveries and kerb-to-kitchen robots.
This will be a multi-year collaboration, and the ultimate ambition is to enable Ocado’s partners to reduce the costs of last-mile delivery and other logistics operations,” said Ocado.
The Ocado/Oxbotica relationship began in 2017.
7am: Wind turbine jobs for Scotland
Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) Offshore Wind, jointly owned by EDF Renewables and ESB, Saipem, and InfraStrata, owner of Harland & Wolff, have awarded a contract to Harland & Wolff to carry out the fabrication and load-out of eight of the project’s wind turbine generator (WTG) foundation jackets.
Harland & Wolff will use its newly-acquired Methil facilities in Fife for the fabrication work, creating around 290 direct and indirect Scottish jobs.
7am: MusicMagpie prices IPO
MusicMagpie, which trades secondhand items in the UK and US will be admitted to AIM on 22 April when shares begin trading at 193p valuing the company at £208 million.
Peel Hunt and Shore Capital led the placing and admission. Peel Hunt is also acting as nominated adviser.
The placing, which attracted strong support from high quality institutional investors and was comfortably over-subscribed, is expected to raise gross proceeds of £15m for the company and £95m for selling shareholders.
Markets – China’s economy grows 18%
As US markets edge higher the FTSE 100 could pass through the 7,000 threshold today.
Wall Street Dow was in positive mood with the Dow Jones average shooting 305 points higher while the S&P 500 surged 46 points.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index is 25 points firmer after China’s first-quarter GDP rose 18.3% year-on-year, although this was at the lower end of the range of forecasts from economists.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 is 29 points up at 29,672.