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Thursday Lunchtime Market: banks bounce
by Andrew Zilouf on Jan 30, 2003 at 13:33
The late recovery in Wall Street last night continues to boost investors morale and supports a strong showing from financials.
Shaking off fears of the huge pension scheme deficits faced by several blue chip employers, the FTSE 100 had climbed 66 points to 3,550 approaching 1.30pm, while the techMARK lifted 11 points to 620.
Economic news was benign with UK December net new consumer credit rising to £1.92 billion in December and UK December M4 money supply up 0.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis to give a 7% rise on a year-on-year basis.
The US economy will probably generate more excitement this afternoon with fourth quarter GDP and weekly jobless claims data expected. The Dow Jones closed 22 points up at 8,110 last night but indications from the futures market suggest it lose these gains in early trading.
The supermarket bidding war came back into focus with news of solid trading at William Morrison and reports that an intermediary has offered substantial stakes in Safeway held by US fund managers to three of the food retailer's potential bidders.
William Morrison (MRW) climbed 6p to 165p as it reported like-for-like growth at an appetising 6.3% for the four weeks to 26 January.
Gathering opinion that solvency concerns are overdone following a reassuring statement from troubled life assurance group Britannic continue to support insurers.
A JP Morgan downgrade for the UK life assurance sector was shrugged off by Aviva (AV.), up 21.5p to 394.5p, Prudential (PRU), up 18.75p to 375.5p, Friends Provident (FP.), up 4.5p to 90.5p, and Britannic (BRT) rebounded 6p to 107p.
Solid results from Northern Rock (NRK), up 22.5p to 600.5p, yesterday and some favourable reaction from brokers have made a stronger impression on banks today with Barclays (BARC), up 15.75p to 344.5p, the main beneficiary.
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- Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets PLC (MRW)
- Sainsbury (J) PLC (SBRY)
- Safeway PLC (SFW)
- Aviva PLC (AV.)
- Prudential PLC (PRU)
- Friends Provident PLC (FP.)
- Brightside Group PLC (BRT)
- Northern Rock PLC (NRK)
- Barclays PLC (BARC)
- AstraZeneca PLC (AZN)
- GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK)
- Rio Tinto PLC (RIO)
- Xstrata PLC (XTA)
- Hays PLC (HAS)
- BAE SYSTEMS PLC (BA.)
- British American Tobacco PLC (BATS)
- Rank Group (The) PLC (RNK)
- MTL Instruments Group PLC (MTI)