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Miners lead FTSE higher on China stimulus hopes
More bad news for China raises hopes the country will launch fresh stimulus boosting mining stocks and sending the FTSE 100 higher.
Miners have led the FTSE 100 higher on hopes of more stimulus from top metals consumer China, after fresh data pointed to a slowdown of the world's fastest growing economy.
The UK blue-chip index jumped 38 points, or 0.6%, to 6,178, with mining stocks heading the leader board. Glencore (GLEN) was the top performer, up 5.1% at 148.9p.
'Glencore shares are faring best as the FTSE aims for 6,200 thanks to a jump in copper prices close to March highs (the stock is still a red metal proxy), with the commodity outperforming peers in response to a surging rebound in Japanese machine orders (although these are notoriously volatile) as well as continued faith in more Chinese stimulus being forthcoming,' said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
'The latter comes after yet another batch of poor macro data over the weekend with both industrial production and retail sales posting weaker growth than in January. However, fixed asset investment did improve, which is a positive.'
Berkeley (BKGH) was another riser, up 2.3% at £30.49 as the house builder, hit in recent weeks by fears over a potential UK exit from the European Union, planned to reassure investors in a market update on Friday, according to the Telegraph.
Admiral (ADML) was the biggest faller on the FTSE 100, down 2.2% at £18.73 after analysts at HSBC cut their rating on the insurer to 'hold' from 'buy' on valuation grounds.
Among 'mid cap' stocks, St Modwen Properties (SMP) was the biggest riser, up 6.5% at 315.5p on an upgrade from analysts at Liberum. Analyst David Brockton said fears over the developer's Nine Elms project were overdone, and upgraded the stocks to 'buy' from 'hold'.
'Risks attached to the scheme have increased, but the valuation now seems to be dislocated from the positive fundamentals evident in the remaining 87% of the business,' he said.
NMC Health (NMC) was another strong riser, up 4.8% at 955p as the United Arab Emirates healthcare group posted a 46.7% jump in full-year earnings to $150.3 million (£105 million).
Stagecoach (SGC) was the biggest FTSE 250 faller, down 5.6% at 258p after analysts at HSBC slapped a 'reduce' rating on the bus and train operator.
Among 'small cap' stocks, EnQuest (ENQ) jumped 9.1% to 15p as Jefferies analyst Nikki Kouzmanov began coverage of the oil and gas explorer with a 'hold' rating and 15p target price.
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- Glencore PLC (GLEN.L)
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- Admiral Group PLC (ADML.L)
- St. Modwen Properties PLC (SMP.L)
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