Investors heaved a sigh of relief today as the London market broke its losing streak to rise back above the 3,500 mark.
After an unprecedented eleven days of closing lower, the FTSE 100 Index rose 30.5 points to 3511.3 after an hour trading, giving hope that it could end the session ahead.
Tom Hougaard, trader at City Index, said: “There is a feeling that the worst might be over by now. We have had eleven days down on the trot and investors feel it is now time to come in and support the market.”
Shares were helped by Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average closing off its lowest point yesterday – although the index did end trading below the 8,000 mark, down 141 points.
However traders said although the US exchanges declined, it was evident that towards the end of the day most of the selling had been done.
In London, the battered insurance sector had a much-needed reprieve from its recent slides, and today led the market upwards.
Friends Provident pleased investors after reporting an 11% increase in new life and pensions business during 2002, and shares rose 6%, up 5.5p to 92.75p.
Others on the way up were Royal & Sun Alliance up 4.25p at 103.75p, Prudential 8p ahead at 368.5p, Aviva 9p up at 375.5p and Legal & General up 1.25p at 78p.
Banking stocks also perked up. Barclays rose 4.25p to 343.5p, Lloyds TSB rose 7p to 385p and Abbey National was up 7p at 407p.
Outside the Footsie, 40,000 investors in Hull had a disappointing start to the day as former stock market darling Kingston Communications slid 12%, down 7.75p at 56.25p, after warning EBITDA would come in at the low end of expectations.