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European stocks boosted by Chinese stimulus plans

London markets had another strong day on Friday (John Walton/PA)
London markets had another strong day on Friday (John Walton/PA)

European markets had another strong day as they followed buoyant Asian trading due to Chinese stimulus plans.

The London markets were once again supported by gains among the heavyweight commodity stocks, which were buoyed by another lift in oil prices.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 35.36 points, or 0.47%, at 7,544.55 points.

The French Cac was up 0.35% and the German Dax increased 0.72% by the end of the session.

European positivity failed to help Wall Street at the start of trading however, as it stumbled following a strong session on Thursday.

Poor after-hours updates from Amazon and Apple meant US investors had low spirits when the bell rang on Friday.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: “A gulf has opened between Europe and the US, as the former rally while the latter drops back.

“US stocks enjoyed such a strong day yesterday that some caution was inevitable, while the mixed picture following US tech earnings and the contraction in US GDP isn’t helping sentiment on Wall Street.

“But higher commodity prices have helped stabilise industrial European stocks, and crucially the magic promise of Chinese stimulus has appeared, pushing up commodity prices and giving stocks across the continent a lift.”

Meanwhile, sterling made back some ground after a weak performance in April.

The pound increased by 0.1% against the dollar to 1.256, and rose 0.12% against the euro to 1.191.

In company news, Natwest finished in the red despite a doubling of profits in the last three months as it benefited from rising interest rates and improved economic conditions.

The bank saw the mood among analysts and investors heavily clouded by the risk of an increase in bad debts linked to the cost-of-living crisis.

Shares in the company were 4.9p lower at 218p at the close of play.

Online retailer AO World plummeted in value after it warned that Britons are cancelling repair warranties on their appliances to save money amid rising cost-of-living pressures.

AO told shareholders its profits for the past year have been impacted by lower sales volumes and an increase in UK logistics costs in its third profit warning in the past six months.

The retailer closed the day 11.4p lower at 76p.

Elsewhere, paper and packaging firm Smurfit Kappa climbed after it revealed that earnings grew over the first months of 2022 despite facing inflationary pressures.

The company also revealed that revenues increased by a third over the first quarter, helping shares to rise by 142p to 3,413p.

The price of oil had a third day of consecutive gains as talk of a European ban on Russian oil and gas imports stepped up a gear.

Brent crude increased by 1.69% to 109.41 US dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Aveva Group, up 121p at 2,175p, Smurfit Kappa, up 142p at 3,413p, Anglo American, up 132.5p at 3,586p, Mondi, up 49p at 1,510p, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 27.8p at 914p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Hikma, down 145.5p at 1,883.5p, Vodafone, down 5.5p at 121.54p, National Grid, down 31.5p at 1,194p, Natwest Group, down 4.9p at 218p, and Hargreaves Lansdown, down 20.2p at 917.2p.

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