Market report

Pru and miners buoyed by China’s border easing

Prudential was a gainer

The FTSE 100 index closed off its highs at 7,497.19, up 24.18 points (0.32%) as traders returned from the Christmas break and caught up with gains on European exchanges.

Miners led the charge as China prepared to reopen its borders. Antofagasta, Glencore and Anglo American were all up strongly. National Grid and Prudential were also among the top risers.

Among mid-size stocks, James Fisher climbed 2.3% in early trade, after announcing the sale of its Subtech Swordfish dive support vessel for $24 million.

The marine services provider said the agreement allows it to maintain access to the vessel until the end of the third quarter of 2023, allowing it to complete existing and potential customer commitments.

In the US on Tuesday, Wall Street ended mixed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending up 0.1%, the S&P 500 down 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite down 1.4%.

In Asia today, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was 0.3% lower, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished 1.6% higher.

The pound was quoted at $1.2044 at early on Wednesday in London, higher compared to $1.2027 at the close on Friday.

Brent oil was quoted at $84.24 a barrel.

Positive outlook

The majority of Scottish businesses expect 2023 to be more successful than 2022, despite challenging economic forecasts, according to the latest data from Lloyds Bank.

Almost two-thirds of the country’s firms (63%) said they are confident they would have greater success in the coming 12 months, compared to the past year.

The research was carried out between 1 and 14 December as part of additional polling for the monthly Lloyds Bank Business Barometer.

According to the Bank of Scotland Business barometer published last week (21 Dec), business confidence in Scotland fell nine points during December to 15%.

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