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FTSE jumps as Russia pulls back troops

FTSE jumps as Russia pulls back troops

The FTSE 100 has jumped as reports that Russia had started to pull back troops built up on the Ukraine border prompted relief among investors.

The FTSE rose 51 points, or 0.8%, in a broad-based rally with all sectors in positive territory on the news, which first filtered through on Friday night, leading to a rally on Wall Street.

‘Markets’ reaction to reports of a Russian pullback was eminently predictable but it remains far too early to celebrate any de-escalation between Russia and Ukraine,’ said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

‘Only at the weekend Ukraine claimed it had thwarted a covert attempt by Russian soldiers to enter the east of the country under the guise of a humanitarian mission with the Red Cross. While Russia dismissed the claims as a “fairy tale”, they nonetheless speak to the concerns that Kiev has with respect to Russia’s next move.’

House builders and airlines were among the biggest risers on the FTSE 100. Persimmon (PSN) rose 2.6% to £12.49, Barratt Developments (BDEV) traded 2.1% higher at 341p, while tool hire company Ashtead (AHT) was the biggest riser, jumping 3.6% to 901.5p.

EasyJet (EZJ) rose 2.8% to £12.63 while British Airways owner International Airlines Group (ICAG) traded 2.1% higher at 323.8p, as they were boosted by a slide in the oil price. Brent crude fell below $105 a barrel as US intervention in Iraq eased concerns over disruptions to supply from the region.

Precious metal miners Randgold Resources (RRS) and Fresnillo (FRES) were among the fallers, as rallying share prices prompted a fall in the gold price. Randgold fell 1.5% to £50.35 while Fresnillo dropped 0.4% to £10.08. Gold fell to $1,307.38.

‘Mid cap’ stock Synthomer (SYNTS) was the biggest riser on the FTSE 250, jumping 7% to 222.5p as the chemical company increased its interim dividend to 3p from 2.4p a year earlier.

Fellow mid cap stock Balfour Beatty (BALF) rose 1.3% to 240.2p as the infrastructure company rejected a second merger proposal from rival Carillion (CLLN).

‘Small cap’ stock Huntsworth (HNTS) rose 12.2% to 4.6p  as the public relations firm, whose shares are down by a third this year, announced chief executive Lord Chadlington was stepping down.

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