Tenth day of FTSE gains

The London market capped its tenth consecutive day of gains today after investors pushed ahead with the strongest rally for the market in more than five years.

The London market capped its tenth consecutive day of gains today after investors pushed ahead with the strongest rally for the market in more than five years.

The FTSE 100 Index rose despite worse than expected figures on the UK economy as reassuring results from Vodafone saw the heavyweight stock up 3%.

London’s top flight closed up 16.8 points to 4576.6, brushing aside a fall into the red for US markets following disappointing results from Microsoft and Amazon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.3% on the trading update as investors paused for breath after hefty gains in the US.

Despite the lull, the Dow has also moved ahead in recent days, pulling back above the 9000 barrier for the first time since the start of the year.

The London market has now completed two weeks without a single negative session and has climbed to its highest level since January.

Economic recovery hopes, fuelled by recent strong US corporate results, have driven the recent improvements in sentiment.

But the continued rise in London was severely tested today by second quarter output figures, which showed a 0.8% decline in the UK.

Analysts had been expecting a fall of 0.3%, adding that it now looked as if the recession had some way to go.

The major corporate interest of the session concerned Vodafone after the mobile phone giant said first-quarter revenues rose 9.3% to £10.74bn (€12.41bn), leading it to reiterate previous guidance on its full-year results.

Shares were 3.35p higher at 120.25p, even though Vodafone said revenues were down 4.7% in the UK.

Banks and miners again dominated the risers, with Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group making gains following reports they had submitted restructuring plans to the EU. Both banks rose around 2%, with RBS up 0.775p at 42p while Lloyds added 1.84p to 77.99p.

Among the miners Lonmin led the way with an almost 4% rise – up 45p at 1,243p - followed by Antofagasta up 18.5p at 750p.

Water companies remained under pressure after yesterday’s price recommendations from regulator Ofwat for the 2010 to 2015 period. Shares in South West Water owner Pennon were worst hit, down 24.25p to 466.25p, while Severn Trent fell 18p to 1014p.

National Express shares were near the top of the FTSE 250 Index risers board after it emerged that Spain’s Cosmen family, which owns 18.5% of the company, was working with buy-out firm CVC on the potential takeover deal.

Shares rose 21.75p to 345.75p, a gain of nearly 7%.

Directories firm Yell set the pace, up almost 9% or 2.75p to 31p, after yesterday’s better than expected trading update.

The biggest Footsie risers were London Stock Exchange up 28.5p at 689.5p, 3i Group up 9.75p at 262.75p, Lonmin up 45p at 1,243p and Standard Chartered up 44p at 1,360p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Pennon Group down 24.25p at 466.25p, Compass Group off 13p at 313.25p, Pearson down 17p at 606p and BAE Systems down 8p at 322.25p.

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