FTSE closes higher on upbeat economic data

London (AFP) – London’s FTSE 100 closed higher on Tuesday boosted by a slew of robust economic data and hopes that global policy makers will continue to keep interest rates low.

The benchmark index rose 0.82 percent compared with Monday’s closing level to end at 6,652.61 points while Europe’s other key markets also enjoyed gains.

The Paris CAC 40 hit levels not seen since the start of the global financial crisis, closing up 0.80 percent at 4,426.72 points, after a survey showed France’s manufacturing sector edged into growth after a long decline.

Meanwhile the DAX 30 in Frankfurt climbed 0.50 percent to 9,603.71 points.

European markets were supported by gains in Wall Street, where the SandP 500 notched up a new intra-day high as manufacturing data showed growth continued to improve.

US shares had surged overnight helped by Janet Yellen’s assurance the Federal Reserve will continue to support the economy, and on the back of a rebound in technology stocks.

Fed chair Yellen delivered a speech in which she underlined that unemployment was still a big challenge for the economy and that the Fed will maintain its extraordinary measures until the jobless rate falls a lot more.

“The quarter has kicked off on a strong note for markets, with Chinese stimulus talk and appropriately soothing words from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen helping to lift the mood,” said Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at IG Markets.

In London, Aberdeen Asset Management was the day’s highest climber, adding 6.71 percent to end at 416.5. ARM Holdings plc followed, advancing 4.91 percent to 1,047.

Sainsbury’s supermarket was the biggest faller, losing 2.09 percent to close at 309.5, followed by publishing and education company Pearson which fell 1.79 percent to 1,044.

Lloyds Banking Group was the most traded stock, with 216.95 million units changing hands, followed by RSA Insurance Group with 59.64 million.

On the currency markets the pound eased to $ 1.6643 at around 5.30pm compared to $ 1.6651 at around the same time Monday. It slipped to 1.2057 euros from 1.2102 over the same period.

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