Strong US economic data brings welcome cheer to London market

The London market closed higher with traders cheered by strong US economic data, soothing a hangover caused by Thursday’s stark warning by the Bank of England governor about the cost of a Brexit vote.

American retail sales posted their biggest rise in a year, jumping by 1.3% year-on-year in April, restoring confidence in consumer spending in the world’s largest economy.

The Ftse 100 lifted 34.3 points to 6138.5, following falls early in the session and a 58-point slump on Thursday after Bank governor Mark Carney said a Brexit vote could tip the UK into a “technical recession” and see the pound plunge in value.

The strong US data changed the mood, helping to send Germany’s Dax up almost 1%, while the Cac 40 in France was 0.5% higher. The Iseq index, meanwhile, was down 19.43 points (-0.32%) to close at 6,122.47.

Among the Ftse stocks, satellite operator Inmarsat was one of the biggest fallers in the top flight — down almost 4%, or 33.5p, to 760.5p — after a series of recent broker downgrades following disappointing quarterly results last week.

Tesco was the strong riser among top flight stocks, as it emerged that chief executive Dave Lewis has been awarded an annual bonus of £2.9m (€3.68m), taking his total pay for the year to £4.6m.

The figures were revealed in the supermarket’s annual report. It said the payouts were awarded after “financial targets for sales and operating profit... were met almost fully”.

Tesco swung back into the black in February, notching up a pre-tax profit of £162m compared with a £6.4bn loss a year earlier.

Shares in Tesco lifted 6.1p to 161.7p, while Morrisons also rose 3p to 189.5p.

The biggest risers were Tesco, up 6.1p at 161.7p; Fresnillo, up 40p at 1115p; Standard Chartered, up 16.4p at 506.5p; and Lloyds Banking Group, up 1.5p at 66.4p.

The biggest fallers were Mediclinic International, down 42p at 835.5p; Inmarsat, down 33.5p at 760.5p; Coca-Cola HBC, down 49p at 1348p; and ITV, down 5.1p at 204.9p.


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