Britain’s markets made cautious gains as better-than-expected US retail sales figures encouraged investors that the US economy could be getting back on the road to recovery.
The FTSE 100 added 0.21%, or 12 points, to 5,806 and the Mid-250 index increased 0.15%, or 17 points, to 11,856.
In the US trade got off to a bright start as retail sales rose a stronger-than-expected 1.1% in September, ahead of an estimated 0.7% increase.
Bank Citigroup’s three-month profits plunged to $468 million (£291 million) in the third quarter as it took a $4.7 billion hit (£2.9 billion) on the writedown of its brokerage Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MSSB). However, the results were ahead of expectations as its net income came in at $3.3 billion (£2 billion).
On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average took on 0.39% to 13,383, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.23% to 1,431, and the Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.22% to 2,716.
The dollar advanced as the dollar index, which tracks the greenback’s performance against a basket of major currencies, added 0.11% to 79.75.
On the FTSE 100 Admiral Group (ADML.L) rose 32p, or 2.9% to £10.87 to the top of the index. B&Q owner Kingfisher (KGF.L) took on 5p, or 1.9%, to 273p following a positive note from analysts. Caroline Gulliver, analyst at Espirito Santo, said the company’s Screwfix operations were on track.
‘There are macroeconomic concerns for the group in France and Poland but we remain convinced that Kingfisher is well positioned to gain market share and grow profits, thus with the stock trading on 11x our 2013 earnings-per-share estimate we remain buyers,’ she said.
Miners held the FTSE 100 back amid continuing concerns about lacklustre economic growth and its impact on commodity prices. Kazakhmys (KAZ.L) shed 25.5p, or 3.26%, to 692p; Eurasian (ENRC.L) gave up 9.1p, or 2.8%, to 320p; and Evraz (EVRE.L) lost 5.1p, or 2.2%, to 229p.