London close: Footsie rallies on US budget hopes

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - Obama confident that 'fiscal cliff' will be dealt with
- Markets await Eurogroup meeting on Greece
- Banks and miners surge on increased risk

Stocks rallied on Monday after hitting a four-month low the previous session on the back of increased hopes that the US can tackle the 'fiscal cliff' and sustain economic growth early next year.

The benchmark FTSE 100 (FTSE Index: EO100.FGI - news) finished at 5,606 on Friday, its lowest closing price since July 26th when it closed at 5,573. Today, the index rose 2.36%, or 132 points, to 5,738.

Banks and mining stocks were leading the risers in London today as risk appetite increased. Just four stocks on the Footsie (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) finished the day in the red.

Speaking to reporters in Bangkok yesterday, President Barack Obama said: "I am confident we can get our fiscal situation dealt with." This follows discussions between key members of Congress on Friday which were labelled by all sides as "constructive".

"Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) 's markets have rebounded strongly today in the wake of the positive and constructive noises coming out of the US with respect to a resolution on the fiscal cliff question," said analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.

Nevertheless, he said: "Despite the rally seen today, as with Friday's sharp sell-off, this rally also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, given that a lot of obstacles still remain with respect to a final solution, not only in the US, but also in Europe, and a solution to Greece's debt sustainability."

Investors were riding on hopes for a deal to be reached at Tuesday's extraordinary Eurogroup meeting so that Greece would receive the next tranche of its bailout programme.

However, Marianne Kothe, spokesperson for Germany's Finance Ministry, told the German press that a decision on Greece's aid is not expected to be made by Tuesday.

FTSE 100: Banks benefit from increased risk appetite

Global (Chicago Options: ^RJSGTRUSD - news) lender HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) rose after confirming press speculation that it is mulling a sale of its minority stake in Chinese insurance giant Ping An Insurance (Shanghai: 601318.SS - news) . HSBC holds a 15.57% stake in Ping An, China's second-largest insurance firm by assets, which is worth an estimated $9.5bn. The stock was also given a lift by Invtestec which raised its rating on the shares to 'buy' this morning, saying that the downgrade cycle could finally be over.

Sector peer Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) was performing well after Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS - news) upgraded its recommendation to 'buy'. Meanwhile, Lloyds was making gains after announcing that it is selling a portfolio of Irish commercial real estate loans as part of its strategy to de-risk its balance sheet and reduce its non-core assets.

Resource (Shenzhen: 399319.SZ - news) stocks were also in demand today with ENRC, Randgold, Kazakhmys (Other OTC: KZMYF.PK - news) , Vedanta and EVRAZ putting in a good performance. Oil giant BP was also a high riser on reports that it is considering a share repurchase programme of around $4bn after it banks the proceeds of the TNK-BP sale to Rosneft.

Financial services giant Old Mutual (Stockholm: OLDM.ST - news) was in demand after snapping up a majority stake in Latin American AIVA Business Platforms in an effort to strengthen its distribution capability in selected emerging markets.

Temporary power and temperature control giant Aggreko (Other OTC: ARGKF.PK - news) gained after winning a $75m contract in Côte d'Ivoire to provide short-term power supply.

Cruise operator Carnival (NYSE: CCL - news) continued to rise after announcing Friday that it will be paying 50 US cents a share to investors next month as a special dividend, in additional to the previously-announced regular quarterly payout of $0.25 per share.

Quality and safety testing group Intertek was among the few fallers after admitting that revenue growth slowed down from 29.9% in the first half to 20.1% during the 10 months to the end of October.

Security services firm G4S (Other OTC: GFSZF.PK - news) was also lower after Credit Suisse (NYSEArca: CSMA - news) downgraded its rating on the stock from 'outperform' to 'neutral'. Following the third-quarter IMS (Xetra: 875606 - news) and the announcement on UK prison outsourcing, the broker has cut its 2012-2014 earnings per share estimates by 2-7% for the firm.

FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) : Ocado soars after finding more time and money

Online grocer Ocado jumped after saying it had secured more time to pay off debts and would raise £35.8m through a placing of shares. The firm said it would use the extra time and money to increase its ranges, improve the customer experience and go on a marketing drive.

Platinum miner Lonmin (LSE: LMI.L - news) was following close behind on continuing optimism after shareholder Xstrata (Other OTC: XSRAF.PK - news) announced that it would take part in the firm's upcoming capital call.

Siberian explorer RusPetro rose after reporting that increased oil production led to a 22% jump in revenue in the third quarter.

Outsourcing group Mitie was out of favour after seeing a decline in margins and profits in the first half, despite a 5.6% increase in revenue.



FTSE 100 - Risers
Barclays (BARC) 249.75p +6.64%
ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L - news) (ARM) 747.00p +5.06%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 272.10p +4.82%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 6,655.00p +4.80%
Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED.L - news) (VED) 1,083.00p +4.54%
Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ.L - news) (KAZ) 684.00p +4.51%
Burberry Group (Xetra: 691197 - news) (BRBY) 1,214.00p +4.30%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,553.00p +4.02%
HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HCS-PB - news) (HSBA) 618.30p +3.78%
Evraz (EVR) 226.80p +3.75%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
Melrose (Other OTC: MLSPF.PK - news) (MRO) 206.90p -0.96%
G4S (Copenhagen: G4S.CO - news) (GFS) 242.40p -0.70%
Pennon Group (Other OTC: PEGRF.PK - news) (PNN) 598.00p -0.25%
Shire Plc (SHP) 1,727.00p -0.12%
Intertek Group (Other OTC: IKTSF.PK - news) (ITRK) 2,836.00p 0.00%
Smith & Nephew (Xetra: 502816 - news) (SN.) 641.50p +0.16%
Serco Group (Dusseldorf: 405031.DU - news) (SRP) 552.00p +0.36%
Reed Elsevier (Berlin: RDEB.BE - news) (REL) 605.00p +0.41%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 257.50p +0.51%
Rexam (LSE: REX.L - news) (REX) 432.90p +0.53%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (Berlin: 0OC.BE - news) (OCDO) 75.00p +23.86%
Lonmin (LMI) 515.00p +9.27%
Ferrexpo (Berlin: FEX.BE - news) (FXPO) 213.70p +7.93%
Talvivaara Mining Company (TALV) 112.20p +6.15%
Essar Energy (Dusseldorf: 11224817.DU - news) (ESSR) 126.10p +5.97%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 987.00p +5.45%
Hochschild Mining (Berlin: H3M.BE - news) (HOC) 493.00p +4.58%
Afren (Berlin: A2J.BE - news) (AFR) 136.20p +4.45%
Fidessa Group (Other OTC: FDGRF.PK - news) (FDSA) 1,364.00p +4.36%
Hunting (Xetra: 867085 - news) (HTG) 746.50p +4.26%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Dunelm Group (Berlin: DFQ.BE - news) (DNLM) 641.50p -4.25%
Mitie Group (LSE: MTO.L - news) (MTO) 280.00p -3.45%
Supergroup (Xetra: A1CT6Y - news) (SGP (SNP: ^SGPY - news) ) 617.50p -3.29%
Raven Russia Ltd (RUS) 63.10p -2.62%
Stobart Group Ltd. (STOB) 108.40p -2.25%
Kenmare Resources (Xetra: 877923 - news) (KMR) 33.90p -1.17%
Homeserve (LSE: HSV.L - news) (HSV) 223.00p -0.89%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 233.00p -0.85%
Cranswick (LSE: CWK.L - news) (CWK) 760.00p -0.72%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 580.00p -0.68%

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