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EasyJet leads FTSE higher as China talk boosts miners

EasyJet leads FTSE higher as China talk boosts miners

The FTSE 100 jumped 75 points, or 1.1%, to 6,595, reversing yesterday’s losses as updates from EasyJet and Kingfisher raised optimism and hopes of fresh stimulus in China continued to drive markets.

The market also received a boost from a further drop in UK inflation. The consumer prices index fell to 1.7% in February, down from 1.9% in January, according to the Office for National Statistics.

EasyJet (EZJ.L) added 84p, or 5.3%, to £17.15p after the budget airline lowered its estimate for half-year losses to between £55 million and £65 million for the period from the previous range of £70 million to £90 million.

Kingfisher (KGF.L) jumped 22.8p, or 5.6%, to 429p, after the home improvements retailer's annual results beat forecasts. A strong international performance pushed profits to £744 million, ahead of the £740 million that had been expected.

Rival Travis Perkins (TPK.L) added 59p, or 3.3%, to £18.60 after analysts at Liberum Capital highlighted singled out the company as its preferred stock for exposure to UK building materials.

Wolseley (WOS.L) jumped 95p, or 2.9%, to £34 as the plumbing supplies group pleased investors with a 25% increase in the half-year dividend with results for the six months to the end of January meeting expectations.

Expectations that China could launch fresh stimulus measures to revive the country’s flagging growth drove miners higher. Anglo American (AAL.L) jumped 38p, or 2.6%, to £14.79, followed by Rio Tinto (RIO.L) up68p, or 2.4%, at £32.67 and BHP Billiton (BLT.L) up 28p, or 1.6%, at £18.30. This followed yesterday's flash Purchasing Managers’ Index which showed Chinese manufacturing activity at an eight-month low.

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