FTSE recovers some heavy early losses

FTSE recovers some heavy early losses

The FTSE 100 Index recouped earlier heavy losses today after another grim set of jobless figures in the United States fuelled hopes that policymakers will take further action to prop up the global economic recovery.

Rather than trigger a fresh sell-off for world markets, the data showing the US shed another 95,000 jobs in September prompted a recovery as analysts said it will now require a substantial pick up in inflation before the Federal Reserve's next meeting in November to prevent more quantitative easing.

With that in mind, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed around 0.5% to breach the 11,000 barrier, while the FTSE 100 Index recovered from a 50-point loss to finish 4.5 points lower at 5657.6.

Miners were encouraged by the prospect of more measures to boost the economic recovery, while the ongoing weakness of the dollar kept mineral prices high. The pound was 0.5% stronger against the greenback, as well as against the euro.

Resources stocks dominated the risers board with Lonmin up 69p to 1819p, Xstrata ahead 36p to 1296p and Anglo American 61.5p stronger at 2726p.

Elsewhere in the top flight, Barclays was closely watched after it emerged that Manchester City football club owner Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi had effectively sold 220 million shares as part of a hedging transaction stemming from the support given to the bank during the financial crisis in 2008.

The blue-chip stock fell 6.8p to 297.25p, a drop of 2%.

Marks & Spencer failed to make much headway despite a number of broker upgrades in the wake of better-than-expected trading figures on Thursday.

Shares were up 1p at 411p as investors heeded warnings over the possible impact of difficult trading conditions in 2011.

The housebuilding sector was still feeling the effect of shock figures from Halifax on housing prices, which revealed a record 3.6% decline in September.

After looking at the Halifax report, Panmure Gordon downgraded its recommendations on FTSE 250 housebuilders Redrow and Taylor Wimpey - down 2.4p at 122.6p and 1.2p at 26.6p respectively.

Elsewhere in the second tier, Thomas Cook shares advanced 3% after the holidays giant unveiled a deal with the Co-op to merge their high street travel businesses.

With more than 1,200 shops, the newly-formed company will be the UK's largest travel agent and second biggest in foreign exchange.

The tie-up is expected to generate savings of around £35m (€40.1m) a year for the FTSE 250 firm. Shares lifted 6.1p to 185.7p.

Meanwhile, Speedy Hire recovered from a weak start after the tool firm said it would take a £1.7m (€1.9m) bad debt charge due to the collapse of social housing group Connaught, which was a major customer.

Speedy also expects to report a first half operating loss, but said it remained on track to meet full-year expectations. Shares were unchanged at 22.75p.

The biggest FTSE 100 Index risers were Lonmin up 69p at 1819p, Xstrata ahead 36p at 1296p, Anglo American up 61.5p at 2726p and Randgold Resources ahead 140p at 6515p.

The biggest fallers were Sage Group down 12.9p at 269.6p, Fresnillo off 41p at 1248p, Land Securities down 16p at 671p and Barclays off 6.8p at 297.25p.

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