Britain's FTSE hits high

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Britain's blue-chip index reached its highest value since March on Tuesday, as an encouraging consumer survey in Germany and signs of stronger growth in China helped to reverse early falls.

The FTSE 100 rebounded off a session low of 5,908.32 to be up 13.27 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,934.90 at 13:27 SA time.

Supporting the rise was news that German economic sentiment jumped to 6.9 points from -15.7 in November according to a monthly ZEW poll, beating a Reuters poll forecast of -12.0. The FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent in the 70 minutes after the data.

Miners were among the top gainers, with basic materials adding 3.5 points. Miners are sensitive to global economic sentiment, and were supported as a ZEW economist said Germany was not heading for a recession, and demand from China supported the price of copper.

“The Chinese data suggests that the trough in activity is in,” Gerard Lane, equity strategist at Shore Capital, said.

“Therefore with emerging market growth accelerating going into 2013, as opposed to decelerating as it was doing this time last year, companies with exposure to that revenue growth should be positioned relatively well.”

Leading gainers was Whitbread, which rose 3.5 percent as Britain's biggest hotel and coffee shop operator posted a rise in third quarter sales, helped by increased demand for its expanding Costa brand.

“Whitbread continues to please, despite the dual headwinds of tough comparatives and a post-Olympic slowdown, which had already been trailed.” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown.

“The company continues to benefit from being well positioned in a cost-conscious consumer environment, and this momentum has filtered through to both the underlying numbers and, indeed, the share price.”

The FTSE 100 reached its highest closing level in nearly nine months on Monday. It broke through technical resistance at 5,930, an intra-day high hit in September, in morning trade on Tuesday, in a broad-based rise that saw all sectors add to gains.

However, individual stocks had potential to weigh. Tullow Oil lost 5.9 percent, the most on the index, after it said a well drilled off the coast of Ghana found no oil in its main target area.

“Tullow has disappointed on recent drill appraisal result,” analysts at Exane BNP Paribas said in a note, replacing Tullow Oil with BP on its “High Conviction” list. BP added 2.4 points to the FTSE 100, the most on the index. - Reuters


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