The FTSE 100 is seen sharply higher today after a recovery on Wall Street and gains in Asia. US stocks trimmed losses after heavy falls early in the day on worse than expected jobless claims data, which showed an increase in applications for benefits by 22,000 to 496,000. The blue chip index is projected to gain 1% after declining 1.2% on Thursday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day 0.5% below the opening level after shedding as much as 1.7% in early trade, while the broader S&P 500 index lost just 0.2% and the technology heavy NASDAQ composite was flat.
Asian stocks were recovering from yesterday's falls. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1%, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.25%, South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.45% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index corrected after Thursday’s surge, shedding 0.2%.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) was the top performer in the index, rallying 6% after releasing its full year results. Fellow bailed out bank Lloyds (LSE: LLOY) and tour operator TUI Travel (LSE: TT) followed with gains of over 2.5%. Satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) was up 2.4% and energy company Centrica (SLE: CNA) and pharmaceutical company Shire (LSE: SHP) added 2%.
Miner Xstrata (LSE: XTA) was the heaviest faller with a decline of nearly 5%. Outsourcing group Capita (LSE: CPI) lost 4.2%, while private equity group 3i (LSE: III) was down 4%. Plumbing and heating equipment manufacturer Wolseley (LSE: WOS) and hedge fund manager Man Group (LSE: EMG) declined 3.7%.
Oil prices rose as April Brent Crude improved to US$76.60/barrel and US light, sweet crude advanced to US$78.49/barrel.
Precious metals also were higher as gold and silver improved to US$1,109/oz and US$16.15/oz, while platinum reached US$1,533/oz.
Base metals followed. Copper and nickel improved to US$3.22/lb and US$9.21/lb, while zinc rose to US$0.97/lb.
The economic data due today includes the second reading for Q4 UK GDP, which will be out at 9:30 AM GMT, and Q4 US GDP data, while will be released in mid afternoon.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company