April 1, 2009 / 5:38 AM / 11 years ago

HSBC and Vodafone lift FTSE

LONDON (Reuters) - The leading share index rose 0.8 percent on Wednesday to extend the previous session’s sharp rise, led by HSBC (HSBA.L) and Vodafone (VOD.L) but oil producers tracked weaker crude prices.

A woman is seen through a car window as she walks past the London Stock Exchange in this file photo from October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

The FTSE 100 .FTSE closed 29.47 points higher at 3,955.61, after rallying 4.3 percent on Tuesday. The UK benchmark is down more than 12 percent this year after recording its worst first quarter since its launch in 1984.

Volumes on the FTSE 100 were at around the index’s 90-day average daily volume.

The banking sector was the best performer after 4 percent rise in index heavyweight HSBC with the stock boosted by technical factors associated with its cash call, with Wednesday the last day of trading for its nil-paid rights shares.

Barclays (BARC.L) strengthened 6.1 percent after missing out on sector gains on Tuesday, while Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) put on 1.8 and 2.5 percent, respectively.

“A few of the recent economic piece of data and a couple of companies reporting information have been better than expected,” said Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads.

“There is also a little bit of impetus from the U.S. They are trading positively and Europe is following.”

U.S. stocks gained after data on home sales and manufacturing added to hopes that the economic slump was moderating. However, U.S. private sector job losses rose more than expected.

The economic data came as leaders of the Group of 20 gathered in London to hold a summit on Thursday to produce a morale-boosting response to the worst economic downturn since the 1930s. Meanwhile, thousands protested in London against a system they said had robbed the poor to benefit the rich.

“It would be over-optimistic to believe that there is going to be a solution towards all our troubles within the space of 24 hours. At least there is cooperation and coordination,” Campbell said.

Vodafone advanced 4.4 percent after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating on the mobile phone operator to “buy” from “neutral” and added the stock to its “conviction buy list” in a sector review.

Retailers found support again following Tuesday’s reassuring trading news from Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), which added 4.5 percent.

Home Retail Group HOME.L was the second best blue chip percentage gainer, up 7.8 percent, while Kingfisher (KGF.L) and Next (NXT.L) rose 4.8 and 6.5 percent, respectively.

Miners were also higher, with Antofagasta (ANTO.L), Anglo American (AAL.L) and Xstrata XTA.L up 0.8 to 9.4 percent.

OILS SLIP

Oil producers shaved most points off the index, as crude prices fell. BP (BP.L) shed 2.2 percent and Tullow Oil (TLW.L) lost 1 percent.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) was among the top losers on the FTSE 100, down 2.5 percent. Morgan Stanley was placing 10.9 million shares in the Anglo-Dutch firm, traders said. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Drugmakers were also featured on the downside, with Shire SHP.L off 3.4 percent on profit-taking after strong gains on Tuesday following a co-promotion deal with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), down 1.4 percent.

Smiths Group (SMIN.L) fell after going ex-dividend.

Additional reporting by Jon Hopkins; editing by Mike Nesbit

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