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UK Equities
FTSE 100 joins global stock rally
From the Financial Times of Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:32:55 GMT

The FTSE 100 joined the rally on global stock markets on Thursday, which came after the Federal Reserve sounded a dovish tone on the timing of a US rate rise.

But BT was a notable faller, down 0.9 per cent at 398.4p after the Daily Telegraph reported the fixed-line telecoms operator was considering a £2bn rights issue to fund its £12.5bn purchase of mobile operator EE as well as the upcoming auction for rights to televise Premier League football in the UK.

The biggest falls came for stocks with defensive properties — led by United Utilities, which declined 1.5 per cent to 904.1p, with pressure also coming from the stock trading without further rights to its latest dividend payment.

But most of the action came at the other end of the market as the FTSE 100 gained 0.6 per cent overall to 6,371.90.

“Our theory is that a bottom may have been reached following the recent sell-off/correction,” said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

“Some more progress north of 6,400 would be welcome from those hoping Santa is back on track with his end-of-year rally to help regain 6,750 or even 6,900.”

The advance was helped by gains for oil stocks, as further bargain hunting in the sector followed its recent steep run lower amid hope the slide in crude prices could have taken too big a toll on the sector. Petrofac bounced 2.6 per cent higher to 717p, while Tullow Oil was up 1.8 per cent at 402.3p.

Mondi, the paper and packaging company exposed to Russia, also moved up. The stock regained 1.8 per cent to £10.22 after it made losses over the previous session amid concern about the potential impact of the slump in the rouble.

There was also some relief for shares in supermarket groups after upbeat retail sales data from the Office for National Statistics. Wm Morrison rose 1.4 per cent to 169.4p and J Sainsbury was 2.9 per cent higher at 232.5p. Tesco rose 1.2 per cent to 170.1p.

London Stock Exchange rose 1.4 per cent to £21.60 after the market operator said it expected to report “good year-on-year increases in activity” across all its main businesses when it files its annual results in March.

“We see long-term value in the stock as the company continues its drive to diversify its business towards passive investments and the North American market place,” said Owen Jones, analyst at Banco Espírito Santo.

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