Tony Blair says the cost of war with Iraq could be double the initial estimate of £1.75bn, fuelling ...
Tony Blair says the cost of war with Iraq could be double the initial estimate of £1.75bn, fuelling speculation this afternoon, and a rally, of increased consumer spending and economic prospects.
The FTSE 100 climbed 95.4 points or 2.5% to 3861.1, posting its biggest weekly gain since September 2001 and its steepest increase since the index was created 19 years ago.
Focus has been very much on troop movements by the US and UK military forces, but there has been some good news for stocks which have recently struggled.
Invensys gained 1.75p or 9.4% to 14.5p, having lost 75% of its value over recent months, and Alliance UniChem, the European retail pharmacy chain, also leapt 20.5p or 4.9% to 435.75p while Amvescap, the money manager, ended the day up 5.6% to 320p.
British Airways has seen a decent rise of 8.5p or 7.3% to 125p thanks to the falling price of crude oil - earlier in the day the price of oil fell to $25.10 a barrel in London.
British Sky Broadcasting Group has also regained 18.5p or 2.9% to 650.5p after Rupert Murdoch' secured a new five-year loan of £600m for the pay-per-view TV station and cancelled an existing £750m credit due to expire in June 2004.
That said, there were still several stocks to fall, including Seymour Pierce Group which has now agreed to sell its investment banking unit and abandoned original plans to find a buyer for the whole company. Its shares closed down 0.25p or 6.7% to 3.5p.
Uniq, which makes convenience foods, also fell 8.5p or 6.5% to 122.5p as its "pension-service costs" are expected to increase by £2m.
And Vernalis, the UK biotechnology company, has also plunged 67.5p or 64% to 37.5p after declaring its chief executive Robert Mansfield has resigned and may need to raised funds.
In the US, trading has been so brisk it looks as though the Dow Jones and S&P 500 will be able to wipe out the loss for the year by the end of this week.
Strong performances from Intel and General Electric have been boosted by the prospect of potentially increased consumer spending as a result of the war in Iraq.
By close of business in London, the S&P 500 was up 2.51 points or 0.3% to 878.35 while the Dow is up 40.42 points or 0.5% to 8327.02 and the Nasdaq is up 2.48 to 1405.25.
General Electric has climbed 45 cents to $27.30 and Intel, is up 41 cents to $18.68.
'Illusion of control'
Reasons to be cheerful
Total investment reaches £9m
Medium to long-term capital growth