FTSE up almost 3%

FTSE up almost 3%

Global stock markets soared higher today as investors took heart from positive signs for the global economy.

The FTSE 100 Index surged by 2.7% - up 141.2 points to 5366.4 - in a welcome bounce back after volatile trading in recent days due to worries over the recovery.

America's Dow Jones Industrial Average was also striding more than 2% ahead, with better-than-expected data on the US and Chinese manufacturing sectors adding to cheer over upbeat growth news from Australia.

Markets across Europe joined in the rebound, with the Cac 40 in France up 3.8% and Germany's Dax closing 2.7% higher.

The positive economic data helped London stocks overcome worse than expected manufacturing figures from the UK - with a survey indicating the pace of growth slowed to a nine-month low in August.

The pound slipped almost a cent against the dollar at one stage before clawing back the ground later on, to stand 0.7% higher at $1.55.

Bid gossip over Thomson Holidays owner TUI Travel and telecoms firm Cable & Wireless Worldwide also added to the investors cheer in London.

While there was little in the way of corporate news to excite investors, traders seized on the blue-chip bid rumours.

C&W Worldwide was the leading riser, gaining 8% or 5.2p to 73p, on rumours of interest from US giant AT&T. Shares rose 11% at the height of the gossip.

The telecoms firm was closely followed by TUI Travel, which added 15.1p to 216.4p or 8%, on reports that Germany's TUI could buy the 42.5% share of the business that it does not already own.

Beside the bid talk, the best Chinese manufacturing figures for four months boosted metal prices and helped the Footsie's heavily-weighted commodities stocks.

With copper prices buoyant, Kazakhmys added 80p to 1236p, while Xstrata was 62.5p better off at 1088.5p.

The gains left just one Footsie stock in negative territory. Randgold Resources was the leading casualty, losing 70p to 6010p, while Power transition firm National Grid remained unchanged at 549p as traders bought into racier sectors.

Oil giant BP was an early faller, but moved back into the black later as it announced the sale of some of its Malaysian assets to state-owned Petronas. Shares gained 8.2p to 388.8p.

In the FTSE 250, fund manager and financial advisory firm Hargreaves Lansdown added 0.9p to 390p as investors welcomed an 18% rise in full-year profits and a healthy dividend hike. The firm has been helped by recovering stock markets and strong levels of new business.

Elsewhere, car dealership Vertu Motors added 2% or 0.5p to 26.75p as the Newcastle firm raised half-year profit forecasts after buoyant sales of new and used cars in the five months of the year so far.

The biggest Footsie risers were: Cable & Wireless Worldwide up 5.2p to 73p, TUI Travel ahead 15.1p to 216.4p, Kazakhmys up 80p to 1236p and Intercontinental Hotels up 61p to 1043p.

The only Footsie faller was Randgold Resources down 70p at 6010p.

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