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FTSE continues recovery after tough start to the week

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The main index in London continued to recover from the three-month lows it reached earlier this week to end Friday with a convincing performance.

As the Nasdaq in New York reached a new record, the FTSE 100 pushed back up, though it remains more than 150 points off its recent highs, and is far from setting records.

The index was driven higher by news from NatWest and Vodafone, but was held back by mining giants Fresnillo and Polymetal.

It ended the day up 59.28 points at 7027.58.

The 0.9% rise put the index behind its European counterparts. The Frankfurt Dax closed up 1%, while the Cac in Paris gained 1.4%.

But it remained ahead of the New York indexes, with the Dow Jones up 0.6% and the S&P 500 up 0.8%.

Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at IG, said: “The post-Monday rally shows no sign of slowing down, and instead stocks seem determined to power ahead into the weekend and beyond. The Monday sell-off seems like a moment of brief panic, and while it was startlingly short-lived, it was enough, it appears, to reset sentiment and activity and prompt a resurgence of bullish momentum.”

Sterling was only slightly positive, gaining less than 0.1% against the dollar and the euro. One pound could buy 1.3755 dollars or 1.1694 euros by the end of the day.

NatWest topped the FTSE 100 for much of the day on the news that it had accelerated its exit from Ireland with a deal to sell off much of its loan book to an Irish bank. The deal, which is still non-binding, will see it offload billions of pounds worth of loans.

Shares ended up 2.5%, giving back some of their gains just before markets closed.

It was tailed by Vodafone, which reported revenues at 11.1 billion euros (£9.5 billion) for the first three months of the financial year.

“Today’s gainers have also been by and large earnings-driven, with the telecoms sector leading the way as Vodafone reported first-quarter revenues that came in well ahead of expectations,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“The lack of travel meant that roaming revenues were still on the low side, but that should improve over time, and it is not a problem unique to Vodafone. The company said it was on track to meet its full year ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) target.”

Shares rose 2.4%.

Elsewhere, Premier Foods, which makes Ambrosia, Sharwoods and Mr Kiplings, reported a “very encouraging” start to its year, with sales up 6.3% compared with the same period before Covid.

Shares rose 4.8%.

Ted Baker saw its shares drop by 1.1% after announcing that it would move office to a £900,000-per-year building in Westminster.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Intermediate Capital Group, up 58p to 2238p, Just Eat Takeaway.com, up 154p to 6102p, 3i Group, up 32.5p to 1295.5p, Burberry, up 52p to 2105p, and Natwest Group, up 4.9p to 199.1p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo, down 12.8p to 745.2p, United Utilities, down 1.92p to 168.46p, Polymetal, down 14.5p to 1520p, Flutter Entertainment, down 110p to 12875p, and Sainsbury’s, down 1.6p to 279.1p.

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