President Donald Trump’s latest shift towards thinking a stimulus package might be possible in the US this side of the election helped traders push markets back up again.
The FTSE 100 leading index closed up 31.78 points, or 0.5%, at 5,978.03 and markets in Europe also rose, with the CAC 40 in Paris and the DAX 30 in Frankfurt closing 0.6% and 0.9% higher, respectively.
David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “President Trump claimed that Congress has restarted talks in relation to a coronavirus relief package, but no further details were given.
“The back and forth in relation to the stimulus programme has been the main story of the last few sessions.
“Earlier in the week, the Donald declared that the discussions were brought to an end, and that there would be no stimulus scheme until after the election, but now there has been a U-turn, and it would not be the first time that the US leader changed his mind in a short period of time.
“Traders reacted well to the news, especially seeing as European markets underperformed against their US equivalents yesterday.”
The pound rose 0.52% against the dollar to 1.294 dollars and against the pound it rose 0.36% to 1.101 euro.
In company news, budget airline easyJet called on the Government for an urgent rescue package, after warning it expects an underlying loss of between £815 million and £845 million from the Covid-19 fallout.
But despite the warning – well-versed shareholders who have seen the troubles facing the airline felt confident enough for the future, sending easyJet shares up 11.8p at 535.2p by the end of trading.
Broadband provider TalkTalk revealed investment firm Toscafund was in discussions over a potential £1.1 billion bid for the firm.
Toscafund, which is already TalkTalk’s biggest shareholder with a 29% stake, is said to be considering a 97p-a-share offer a year after reportedly making a £1.5 billion bid. Other shareholders seemed interested in formalising the deal, with shares closing up 14.2p at 97.5p – just above the offer price.
Trading platform Hargreaves Lansdown had a less impressive day, with shares closing down 73.5p at 1,513.5p after bosses revealed revenue for the three months to September 30 was £143.7 million, a 12% increase from the year before.
But new business in the period was £800 million, down from £1.7 billion the year before – spooking investors who were hoping for more.
There was no such fear among HSS Hire investors though, with shares closing up 0.55p at 20.5p despite the firm announcing plans to cut around 300 jobs from its tool hire stores.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, up 38.7p at 195.35p; IAG, up 10p at 107.5p; Taylor Wimpey, up 4.95p at 121.25p; Intermediate Capital Group, up 51p at 1,35p; and BT Group, up 3.7p at 106.55p.
The biggest fallers of the day were Hargreaves Lansdown, down 73.5p at 1,514.5p; DS Smith, down 10.3p at 298.9p; Smurfit Kappa, down 84p at 3,090p; Mondi, down 44p at 1,639p; and ABF, down 38p at 1,895.5p.