CITY MARKET REPORT [Western Mail (Wales)]
(Western Mail (Wales) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) MOBILE phone giant Vodafone helped the FTSE-100 Index return to positive territory yesterday after long-awaited confirmation of talks to sell its stake in US joint venture Verizon Wireless.
The heavyweight blue chip saw shares leap 8% higher, contributing most of the 0.8% rise in the wider top tier, which closed 53 points higher at 6483.1.
Vodafone's impressive share gains added to improved sentiment on world markets after two days of losses as the threat of imminent military action against Syria subsided.
Cheer over the US economy also provided a boost after revised figures showed growth of 2.5% between April and June - much faster than the 1.7% previous estimation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lifted more than 80 points in early trading as a separate report also showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week.
In currency markets, the pound remained higher against most major currencies except the dollar as it continued to benefit from upbeat comments from Bank of England governor Mark Carney on Wednesday.
Sterling rose to E1.17, but remained at $US1.55, as the greenback strengthened after yesterday's positive economic data.
Vodafone was the biggest riser - up 15.5p to 204.8p - after it said it had resumed discussions over the potential sale of a 45% stake in Verizon. It is thought that partner Verizon Communications wants to pay around $US100bn (Pounds 64.4bn) for the stake, although reports have said that Vodafone is pressing for as much as $130bn (Pounds 83.8bn).
The Newbury-based company is likely to set aside a large chunk of the US sale proceeds on debt repayments and share buy-backs, as well as a war chest for acquisitions.
Other big risers included advertising and marketing giant WPP, up 49p to 1227p after it raised its full-year outlook on the back of improving demand in the UK and United States.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Vodafone ahead 15.5p to 204.8p, Melrose Industries up 17.4p to 301.8p, WPP 49p higher at 1227p and easyJet up 47p to 1259p.
The biggest fallers were Serco down 68p to 538.5p, Antofagasta off 25.5p to 849p, Pearson 36p lower at 1280p and Vedanta Resources down 22p at 1187p.
(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]