JD Sports Fashion leads London retailers higher
European equities markets were higher Thursday after the European Central Bank left interest rates at 1 percent, as expected, and said it will continue supporting liquidity in the Eurozone, while retail sales data and figures on pending home sales in the US also helped as US retailers sold more merchandise than expected in November and pending home sales were up by 10.4 percent in October.
The FTSE 100 was up 2.22 percent to 5,767.56 in London, while the FTSE 250 added 2.47 percent to 11,076.8.
Most retailers were higher in London, led by JD Sports Fashion (LSE: JD) with a gain of 8.71 percent, followed by DIY retailer Kingfisher (LSE: KGF) which was up 7.19 percent while sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) added 6.3 percent.
Kinfisher’s gains came even though it reported that profits were flat in the third quarter, with foreign sales making up for disappointing domestic sales.
There were only two decliners in the retail sector as internet grocery retailer Ocado Group (LSE: OCDO) dropped 0.52 percent and supermarket chain Morrisons (LSE: MRW) was 0.22 percent lower.
The travel and leisure sector was mostly higher, led by travel agent TUI Travel (LSE: TT), which added 7.28 percent on full-year operating profits that were up by 11 percent.
The energy sector was mostly higher, led by oil rig builder and refurbisher Lamprell (LSE: LAM), which added 5.8 percent, but two out of the three decliners in the sector were among the five worst performers on the 250, with oil and gas explorer Melrose Resources (LSE: MRS) down 1.96 percent while Salamander Energy (LSE: SMDR) dropped 1.62 percent.
The best performer on the 100 was engineering group GKN (LSE: GKN), which was up 7.68 percent, while satellite communications company Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) dropped 0.85 percent for the worst day on that index.
Meanwhile, over on the 250, food manufacturer Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) was up 12.21 percent for the best result there, but soft-drinks maker Britvic (LSE: BVIC) dropped 2.94 percent for the worst performance of the day.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was up 1.589 percent to 1,106.39 while the Dax added 1.32 percent to 1,106.39, the CAC-40 was 2.12 percent higher to 3,747.04 and the IBEX gained 2.78 percent to 9,947.6.
Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on optimism that debt problems in Europe will be resolved and on signs that the US economy is recovering after a report showed that the private sector there added more jobs than expected last month.
The Nikkei 225 added 1.81 percent to 10,168.5 in Tokyo, while the Topix index was up 1.29 percent to 877.21 and the Mothers market gained 0.94 percent to 390.78.
Brokers saw gains on the possibility that increased investor optimism will mean higher earnings in the sector.
Nomura Holdings (TYO: 8604) was 2.7 percent higher while Daiwa Securities Group added 2.9 percent.
A weaker yen helped exporters to gains as consumer electronics manufacturer Sony (TYO: 6758) was up 0.8 percent, while carmaker Honda Motor (TYO: 7267) added 1.8 percent, camera and copier manufacturer Canon (TYO; 7751) was 1.8 percent higher and chip-testing equipment maker Advantest (TYO; 6857) gained 5.4 percent.
In other regional results, the Straits Times Index added 0.5 percent to 3,197.96 in Singapore, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.71 percent to 2,843.61 in China, India’s Sensex was 0.72 percent higher to 19,992.7, the Taiex gained 0.77 percent to 8,585.77 in Taiwan, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.86 percent to 23,448.8 and the Kospi added 1.09 percent to 1,950.26 in South Korea.
Australia’s markets were also higher as the Sydney Ordinaries gained 1.82 percent to 4,761.8 and the S&P/ASX200 was 1.95 percent higher to 4,676.2.
New York markets were higher in early afternoon trade as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.79 percent to 11,344.8, while at the same time the S&P 500 was up 0.99 percent to 1,218.04 and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.85 percent higher to 2,517.05.
Early afternoon found crude oil prices higher in New York, although natural gas futures were down 5 cents after being up earlier, in late morning trade, while metals prices also saw gains.