The FTSE 100 is set to keep moving higher wit h financial bookmakers projecting the blue chip index to gain a further 0.3-0.4% after tacking on 0.6% on Friday despite weakness in the mining sector as metal prices declined.
Pharmaceutical company Shire (LSE: SHP) emerged atop the leaderboard with a 4.5% advance. Food manufacturer Unilever (LSE: ULVR), British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) and telecom group BT (LSE: BT.A) followed with gains of 2.5%.
Miner Anglo American (LSE: AAL) and plumbing and heating equipment manufacturer Wolseley (LSE: WOS) were the heaviest fallers with losses of 1.8%. Other miners Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) and Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) joined in, sliding 1.5%. Commercial property company British Land (LSE: BLND) and copper miner Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ) were the only other FTSE 100 constituents to lose more than 1%.
US stocks posted small gains to end the week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ending the day 0.1% above the opening level, while the broader S&P 500 index rose insignificantly and the technology heavy NASDAQ composite also added 0.1%.
Asian markets were bullish today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied 2.3%, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 2.7%, South Korea’s KOSPI added 2.1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.3%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index went against the tide, sliding 0.5% on the first day after the Lunar New Year break.
Oil prices were higher with US light, sweet crude breaking through US$80/barrel. April Brent Crude reached US$78.45/barrel.
Precious metals also improved as gold was back above US$1,120/oz, while silver and platinum reached US$16.49/oz and US$1,541/oz respectively.
Base metals were mixed as while nickel and zinc climbed to US$9.33/lb and US$1.04/lb, copper slid to US$3.31/lb.
No major economic data is due out today.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company