FTSE 100 ends higher as miners track gains in commodity prices
(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)
* FTSE 250 ends at fresh record highs
* Johnson Matthey jumps on strategic review of its health unit
* Lookers surge after upbeat 2021 profit forecast
* FTSE 100 up 0.8%, FTSE 250 adds 0.4% (Updates to close)
By Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar
April 8 (Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 ended higher on Thursday as heavyweight mining stocks tracked rising metal prices, while the mid-cap index scaled record highs as investors bet on a faster economic recovery.
The blue-chip index .FTSE ended up 0.8%, with Anglo American AAL.L one of the biggest boosts to the index, gaining 3.2% on plans to spin off its thermal coal assets in South Africa.
The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC closed 0.4% higher, as faster vaccinations and lower coronavirus cases boosted confidence in a faster economic rebound.
The swift rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in England resulted in a steep drop in infection rates in March, a closely watched survey showed.
"The strong performance of the FTSE 250 should be a tailwind for active managers as a whole, as a result of their additional exposure to this area," said Laith Khalaf, financial analyst at AJ Bell.
"They (midcaps) are small enough that they still have room to grow, but large enough that they are established businesses with existing customer bases."
Globally, investor sentiment was upbeat after the U.S. Federal Reserve underlined its commitment to keeping policy super loose even during a rapid economic recovery.
FTSE 100 is set to record its biggest weekly gain since early January and is up 7.5% so far this year on speedy vaccine rollouts, dovish central bank policies and economic optimism.
British companies sharply stepped up hiring and offered higher pay to new staff last month as they grew more confident about an economic recovery and prepared for COVID-19 restrictions to ease, a recruiters body said on Thursday.
Among other stocks, Johnson Matthey JMAT.L gained 1.5% as the company began a strategic review of its health business, while Lookers LOOK.L jumped 14.8% after the auto retailer forecast 2021 underlying profit before tax to be materially ahead of analysts' estimates.
Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Shailesh Kuber and David Gregorio
Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.
All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.
Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.