Wall Street boosts Footsie

Shares on both sides of the Atlantic were in positive territory today as bargain hunters moved in after yesterday’s falls.

Shares on both sides of the Atlantic were in positive territory today as bargain hunters moved in after yesterday’s falls.

With Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average 47 points ahead as trading in London closed for the day, the FTSE 100 Index was above the 5700 mark.

Despite an earlier dip which took the Footsie as low as 5638 after overnight losses overseas, traders put early nervousness behind them to leave the top flight index 36.5 points higher at 5706.3.

Investors welcomed figures from Cadbury Schweppes and reports of a management shake up at supermarket chain Morrisons.

Shares in Morrisons gained almost 2% or 3p to close at 196p amid speculation that executive chairman Sir Ken Morrison was poised to take a back seat at the supermarket giant his father founded more than 100 years ago.

The move was expected to coincide with the appointment of Heineken’s Marc Bolland as chief executive as Morrisons looked to recover from its recent problems following the £3 billion takeover of Safeway.

Cadbury Schweppes was also on the front foot – up 10.5p to 513.5p – after the drinks and sweets maker said revenues growth was running near the top end of expectations for 2006.

And shares in Lloyds TSB lifted 12p to 523p as the appointment of investment bank Lehman Brothers as one of its brokers triggered fresh rumours of a bid for the high street bank.

Rivals in the banking sector added further support with HBOS up 19.5p to 935p, HSBC 12p higher at 935.5p and Barclays 11.5p to the good at 616.5p.

But BAA shares fell 13p to 935p after a report said plans by Spanish firm Ferrovial to buy enough BAA shares to stop rival bidder Goldman Sachs breaking up its agreed £10.3 billion takeover could be thwarted by regulators in Australia, where BAA has interests in six airports.

And Vodafone shares were down 0.75p to 122.5p after it went ex-dividend, which meant new shareholders were no longer entitled to the latest payment.

Other top flight stocks to suffer the same fate included National Grid – off 15.5p to 599.5p – and Enterprise Inns – down 15p to 926p.

But PartyGaming was the session’s heaviest faller, losing almost 4% after the founders of the Party Poker company sold 200 million shares.

The stock fell 4.5p to 117.75p today.

Outside the top flight, shares in no-frills airline easyJet were up 4% or 13.25p to 359.25p after it said its strong Easter performance continued into May when it carried 2.94 million passengers.

And specialist insurance provider Resolution ticked 21p higher to 697p – a gain of 6% – after it agreed to buy Abbey National’s UK and offshore life insurance business for £3.6 billion.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were BSkyB up 18p at 550p, Reed Elsevier gaining 17.5p at 539.5p, Cable & Wireless 3.25p higher at 106p and Diageo rising 23.5p at 917.5p.

The biggest fallers were PartyGaming down 4.5p at 117.75p, Kazakhmys off 31p to close at 1057p, National Grid off 15.5p at 599.5p and Cairn Energy 38p lower at 2042p.

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