FTSE rallies after tough week for traders

FTSE investors on Friday decided they had enough of their plummeting stock, pushing London’s top index back up after what has been a nightmare week.

Shares rallied, with the FTSE 100 closing up 1.43%, or 102 points to 7240.

It came after the exchange on Thursday looked to be on course for its worst week in over two months, after a terrible Monday and Tuesday.

But jobs numbers in the US helped end the week on a high for global stocks.

Nonfarm payrolls, one of the closest watched jobs figures on the other side of the pond, hit 266,000, against 181,000 expected. Meanwhile unemployment fell to 3.5% from 3.6%.

“Combine that promising jobs picture with Donald Trump claiming that trade talks are ‘moving right along’ and China waiving tariffs on some US soybean and pork shipments, and the markets finally began to find some festive cheer sorely lacking so far in December,” said Connor Campbell, an analyst at SpreadEx.

The FTSE was also likely boosted by a 0.25% fall in the value of the pound against the dollar to 1.3123.

Germany’s Dax closed up 0.88%, while French index Cac was up by 1.08%.

In company news, Eddie Stobart shareholders have approved a £55 million rescue sale in a bid to secure the future of its 6,500 employees.

The Carlisle trucking firm, famed for its green and red lorries, had been on the brink of collapse after struggling to deal with a £200 million debt pile and recent accounting errors.

Primark owner Associated British Foods has told shareholders it is on course to hit expectations, with strong growth expected in its sugar division, although profits at the fashion chain will take a slight hit.

At the company’s annual general meeting, chairman Michael McLintock said: “This year, AB Sugar will benefit materially from the increase seen last year in EU sugar prices and from further cost reduction.

Phoenix Group has cemented itself as Europe’s biggest owner of life assurance funds closed to new customers with a £3.2 billion deal to buy up rival ReAssure.

Swiss Re, the world’s second-largest reinsurer, had wanted to spin off its ReAssure division earlier this year with a stock market flotation, but pulled it in the summer.

Oil standard Brent crude was up 1.69% to 64.30 dollars after oil cartel Opec and Russia agreed to slash crude production by an extra 500,000 barrels a day.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were DS Smith, up 18.2p to 370.00p, Evraz, up 15.6p to 357.00p, Antofagasta, up 30.6p to 898.60p, WPP, up 27.8p to 977.80p, and Kingfisher, up 5.6p to 212.70p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were NMC Healthcare, down 65p to 2,530.00p, Fresnillo, down 7.8p to 555.40p, DCC, down 22p to 6,400.00p, ITV, down 0.3p to 143.00p, and Ocado, down 1p to 1220.00p.