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FTSE closes higher despite Kwarteng ruling out bringing fiscal plan forward

UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. The FTSE 100 was in the green on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville
UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. The FTSE 100 was in the green on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

Stock markets in Europe closed higher as confidence returns at the start of the final quarter of a tumultuous year marred with economic, markets and geopolitical chaos.

In London, the bluechip FTSE 100 (^FTSE) jumped 2.5% to 7,084 points at close, the CAC 40 (^FCHI) was 4.1% higher on the day, and in Frankfurt the DAX (^GDAXI) rose 3.6%.

Online retailer Ocado (OCDO.L) was leading UK's main index, up 7.4%, while hospitality firm Whitbread (WTB.L) rose 6%, and British airways owner, International Consolidate Group (IAG.L) 5.8%.

"It’s as if everyone has forgotten about the gloomy outlook and instead regained an appetite for risk," Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell said.

Read more: Kwarteng's reversal of 45p tax cut: Richest 5% households still stand to gain most

Kwasi Kwarteng was reportedly due to outline how his £43bn package of tax cuts will be paid for later this month, as opposed to November as originally planned.

However there appears to have been confusion over another apparent U-turn after he told the Conservative conference he would publish his fiscal plan and Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts "shortly".

The chancellor has clarified he is sticking to his 23 November date, saying "shortly is the 23rd" and suggesting people had been "reading the runes" incorrectly.

It comes after the UK government decided to reverse on part of its previous tax cutting plan on Monday, abolishing the planned scrapping of the 45p top rate income tax announced just 10 days prior.

The move had a positive affect on sentiment generally, with the pound (GBPUSD=X) pushing to a two-week high in early trade on Tuesday – bouncing back from its previous record lows against the dollar.

Sterling was up 0.3% to $1.13 against the dollar in afternoon trade.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England's emergency bond-buying programme seems to be working, as the yields on the UK 30 year bonds, which surged to 5.1% in the wake of the mini-budget, are now at 3.87%.

Threadneedle Street pledged to buy up to £5bn of long dated gilts a day until 14 October, expected to cost £65bn. But so far it has spent just £3.6bn, meaning the total will be nowhere near that amount.

Read more: Pound hits two-week high as Kwasi Kwarteng brings forward debt plan

"The pound has continued its upward trajectory as concerns ease as gilt markets continue to cool," Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at online trading platform IG said. "While markets appear to have reacted positively to the chancellors 45p tax rate U-turn, today [Tuesday] has seen Kwarteng flip-flop once again by returning to his original stance that the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] forecast will only come in late-November."

Across the Atlantic, US indices also started the new quarter higher, as traders' sentiment rose after a long losing streak.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 (^GSPC) advanced 2.9%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) added 3.4%, while the Dow Jones (^DJI) shot up 2.7% at London's close.

US job openings dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, suggesting labour demand is moderating.

The number of available positions fell to 10.1 million in August from 11.2 million the month before, according to Labor Department figures. The 1.1 million dip in vacancies was the biggest since April 2020.

The numbers come as Fed policy makers have pointed to the high number of vacancies as a way to tame the labour market without an ensuing jump in unemployment.

Asian shares finished mixed overnight as markets in mainland China are closed all week for a national holiday. In Tokyo, the Nikkei (^N225) closed up 3%, and the Hang Seng (^HSI) down 0.8% in Hong Kong.

Watch: How does inflation affect interest rates?