The FTSE 100 is projected to start 0.5% higher after tacking on 0.4% yesterday despite disappointing US jobless claims data.
Energy company Centrica (LON:CNA) advanced 3.3% to take the lead among the blue chips. African Barrick Gold (LON:ABG) and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) added just over 2.5%, while Randgold Resources (LON:RRS) rose 2.4%. Beverage group SABMiller (LON:SAB), consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) and oil and gas producer Cairn Energy (LON:CNE) tacked on nearly 2%. Turbine manufacturer Rolls-Royce (LON:RR), food manufacturer Unilever (LON:ULVR) and tour operator TUI Travel (LON:TT) rose 1.4%.
Base metal miner Vedanta Resources (LON:VED) was the heaviest faller with a 7.5% loss. Plumbing and heating equipment manufacturer Wolseley (LON:WOS) shed 4.3%. Private equity group 3i (LON:III) and engineering firm Smiths Group (LON:SMIN) lost more than 2.5%. Insurer Standard Life (LON:SL), Home Retail Group (LON:HOME) and engineering company Invensys (LON:ISYS) lost more than 2%. Quality and safety services company Intertek (LON:ITRK) and insurer Old Mutual (LON:OML) declined 1.9%.
US stocks closed in the red on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S&P 500 index declined 0.55%, while the technology heavy NASDAQ composite was down 0.8%.
Asian markets were in buying mode today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3%, China’s Shanghai Composite Index moved up 0.4%, South Korea’s KOSPI rallied 1.4%, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.45% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 1.3%.
Oil prices recovered from yesterday’s falls with September Brent Crude advancing to US$76.31/barrel, while US light, sweet crude for September delivery reached US$76.69/barrel.
Precious metals advanced as safe haven buying intensified. Gold climbed to US$1,217/oz, while silver and platinum reached US$18.17/oz and US$1,530/oz respectively.
Base metals followed. Copper and nickel rose to US$3.30/lb and US$9.83/lb, while zinc moved up to US$0.93/lb.
The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index and US inflation data are due out in the US today.