Strong sales of plumbing supplies by Wolseley and analyst expectations of Tesco sales gains are helping push the FTSE higher by about 18 points to 4,838.
Wolseley is up nearly 5%, or 45.5p to 1,033.5p after reporting earnings in the five months to the end of December jumped 25% in its core US and UK markets.
Standard Chartered is up 10.5p to 947.5p after the Hong Kong government announced a series of deals between banks in the territory and local banks in the Chinese province of Zhejian.
HSBC is up 3.5p to 880p.
Tesco is up 3.5p to 320.25p as analysts buy into estimates it took market share from competitors such as Boots over the Christmas period. In the past few days Tesco has announced it may branch out into non-food stores.
British Airways is up 2.75p to 255.25p after latest figures from Europe’s airlines suggests passenger numbers increased again in December, now up 13% on the same month in 2003.
L&G is up 1p to 114p as the market awaits the outcome of its appeal against the FSA on a mis-selling charge related to endowments. Some analysts believe if successful, the challenge could set new limits on the FSA’s regulatory powers.
Cairn Energy is down 9p to 1,086p after reporting one of its Indian finds may “stagnate” in the next few years.
Severn Trent, the utility, is down 4.5p to 943p after JPMorgan downgraded the company’s shares to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’.
Shares were up strongly in Asia earlier today.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is up 126.87 to 13,621.65 points, its biggest one-day gain in a month, after new government figures published in the US suggesting economic growth is continuing at a stronger pace than some analysts expected. This is seen as good news for Hong Kong’s exporters.
Wharf Holdings, owner of Hong Kong’s and the world’s biggest container port is up HK$0.60 to KH$26.15 after reporting volume increased 7.3% through 2004 as exports and imports handled between China and the rest of the world surged.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index is up 48.71 points to 11,487.10.
Mitsubishi Motors surged 15 yen to 162 yen after competitor Nissan pledged to buy 50,000 mini-cars to sell under its own brand.
Shares closed up in New York ahead of the weekend, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average index up 52.17 points to 10,558 by the close.
Prices could swing this week, however, as some 76 of the broader S&P 500 index’s constituents are set to report fourth quarter results.
Analysts expect Ford & General Motors to reports significantly reduced quarterly profits against the same period one year earlier. GM shares closed down $0.19 at $37.13.
Some five Federal Reserve officials who have votes towards changing interest rates are expected to make announcements this week that could portend faster rising interest rates than previously expected.IFAonline
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