UK stocks rose, lifting the FTSE 100 Index from a low of more than 7.5 years, led by FTSE heavyweigh...
UK stocks rose, lifting the FTSE 100 Index from a low of more than 7.5 years, led by FTSE heavyweights Vodafone Group and BP.
The FTSE 100 climbed 199.9 points, or 5.7%, to 3486.9 at close today, erasing yesterday's 4.8% slump. The FTSE 250 also rose by 18 points, or 0.5%, to 3,820.
Stock markets have slumped with the prospects of war in Iraq. But with the FTSE 100 at a 7.5 year low, its no wonder investors saw their chance to sweep up cheap stocks.
Vodafone climbed 8p to 108.5p, while BP rose 18.5p to 391.5p. The oil company said it bought back 9.8 million shares.
Another oil stock star was Abbot Group which rose 4.5p to 142p. The oil services company said profit rose more than six times to £45.3 million last year in part because of asset sales. The company said trading so far this year is in line with its own expectations.
Other stock buy backs were announced by the National Express Group which led to its shares closing higher by 48.2p to 396p. Britain's largest train and bus operator also raised the dividend 11% to 24.5p a share.
Another key climber was Barclays which gained 23.2p to 334.2p.
Perhaps news that British Airways is about to be booted out the FTSE 100 was enough to spurn a rally in its stock price as it closed higher by 7.2p to 93.2p.
Otherwise, it was figures released from the Association of European Airlines that European airline passenger traffic in January rose 6.4% as travellers returned to the air more than a year after the Sept 11 hijackings.
BT Group rose 13.5p to 155.5p after Jonathan Dann, an analyst at Bear Stearns & Co, rated the former telephone monopoly 'peer perform' in new coverage.
The only losers today were Canary Wharf Group - still reeling from its admission that its offices in the Docklands are largely unoccupied - which dropped 15p to 168p, and Corus, which plummeted 2p to 4p.
After a brief morning rally, the second-biggest steelmaker in Europe, was dropped like a hot potato after a Dutch court blocked its appeal to sell aluminum assets to Pechiney SA, endangering efforts to reduce debt and pay for job cuts.
Another positive stock was Patsystems which gained 0.75p to 4.5p. The maker of trading software for futures and options, said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to £2.46 million from £6.47 million as it cut costs and added customers.
RMC Group jumped 20p to 351p as it completed the sale of businesses in Belgium, bringing the amount raised through asset sales since 2002 to £280 million.
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