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FTSE steadies as US boost offsets ex-divi drops

FTSE steadies as US boost offsets ex-divi drops

The FTSE 100 steadied near a three-week high, as stocks going ex-dividend countered a rise in mining shares after positive economic news from the US.

The FTSE edged up seven points at 6,659, helped by US data showing economic growth was gaining traction following a harsh winter. The US Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 53.7 in March, a second consecutive monthly rise.

Miners advanced with Fresnillo (FRES.L) 22.5p, or 2.7%, higher at 868.5p. Antofagasta (ANTO.L) traded 14p, or 1.7%, up at 853.5p, while BHP Billiton (BLT.L) rose 27p, or 1.4% to £19.07 and Randgold (RRS.L) gained 63p, or 1.4%, at £45.77.

Sports Direct (SPD.L) built on yesterday's 40p gain after analysts at Liberum raised their target price for the stock and identified potential overseas acquisitions to boost is European presence. The sports retailer added 24.5p, or 2.7%, at 917p.

Insurer Resolution (RSL.L) traded ex-dividend and led the fallers, dropping 10.5p, or 3.5% to 293.2p, as has publisher Pearson (PSON.L), down 29p, or 2.8% to £10.15.

Other stocks trading ex-dividend were:

  • Aviva (AV.L), down 3.6p, or 0.7% at 488.5p
  • Tullow Oil (TLW.L), down 2.5p, or 0.3%, at 750p
  • Wolseley (WOS.L), down a penny at £34.30
  • Next (NXT.L), up 55p, or 0.8%, at £66.84
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