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FTSE 100 set to extend gains after rally in US and Asia, commodities pull back

The FTSE 100 is seen 32 points, or about 0.6% higher after gaining 29 points yesterday after shares on Wall Street reversed early losses to finish 1% above the opening level and Asian markets continued their rally. The markets are still waiting for the resolution of Greece’s debt problem after EU leaders announced that a deal on aid package for the country was reached without providing any further detail.

Oil inventories report from the Energy Information Administration (NYSEMKT:EIA) is due out today, as are US retail sales update for January and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for February.

Turbine manufacturer Rolls Royce (LSE: RR) led the blue chips with a 6.5% rally. Medical devices manufacturer Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) followed, climbing 4.3%. Miner Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) added 3%, while Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE), consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB), BG Group (LSE: BG) and miners BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) and Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) all gained about 2.5%.

Telecom group BT (LSE: BT.A) slid to the bottom of the index with a 8.8% loss. Banks Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) and Barclays (LSE: BARC) were down 3.7% and 3.4% respectively, while airline British Airways (LSE: BAY) also lost 3.4%. Interdealer broker ICAP (LSE: IAP) lost 2.7% and private equity group 3i (LSE: III) shed 2.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 1.05%, the broader S&P 500 index rose 1% and the technology heavy NASDAQ composite added 1.4%.

Most Asian markets were bullish today. China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.1%, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 1.3%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.2% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1%. South Korea’s KOSPI went against the tide with a 0.3% loss.


Oil retreated after posting gains yesterday. April Brent Crude moved down to US$73.83/barrel, while US light, sweet crude declined to US$75.01/barrel.

Precious metals were slightly lower after yesterday’s rally, while saw gold almost return to US$1,100/oz. The yellow metal stood at US$1,089/oz, while silver and platinum pulled back to US$15.60/oz and US$1,521/oz respectively.

Base metals headed in different directions as while copper and zinc slid to US$3.10/lb and US$0.98/lb, nickel improved to US$8.45/lb.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company