The FTSE opened sharply higher today at 5329.29, up 51.07 (0.97%), following a slight recovery on Wall Street after disastrous early trading yesterday.
The biggest winner was Serco, trading at £54.80 up 27 points (5.18%) on the back of strong sales figures. The outsourcing firm announced today its 2009 net income rose to £130.2m up from £99.6m a year ago, with sales rising 27.1% to £3.97bn.
Elsewhere Rio Tinto climbed to £33.18 up 67.50 (2.08%) helped by rebounding metals prices on commodity exchanges, following heavy losses on Thursday.
Lloyds Banking Group was the biggest loser trading at 53p down 1.09 points (1.99%) after reporting an operating loss of £6.3bn for 2009.
The Dow Jones ended trading only 0.5% below opening level on Thursday at 10,321.03, down 53.13 (0.51%) after shedding 1.7% in early trade.
This followed in the wake of worse than expected job loss figures and durable goods data, which exacerbated worries about the strength of the economic recovery.
Alcoa Inc, the largest US aluminium maker, topped the winners table trading at $13.31, up 0.25 (1.91%) following an announcement it has been picked by the US Army to develop a fuel-efficient vehicle prototype.
Heading up the losers' board was Coca Cola at $53.12, down (2.04) 3.7%, following news it will acquire the North American bottling business of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc in a deal valued at $13bn.
The Nikkei fell 1% on Thursday, after a rise in the value of the yen hit exporters. The index ended the day at 10,101.96, down 96.87 points.
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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