Buoyed by better-than-expected expansion in the manufacturing sector of US, Eurozone and China, investors increased their exposure to risky assets, sending the global equity markets to another week of gains. The Cambridge Index climbed 1.0% or 70.9 points to 7,212.0, as eight of the top 10 index heavyweight stocks recorded gains.
Cambridge Index rises 1.0%
Autonomy rose 1.3% to 1870.0p, reversing the losses earlier in the week. ARM Holdings gained 1.5%, even after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to “Hold” from “Buy”. Greene King, down 0.2%, announced that it is changing the composition of its board of directors with effect from 30 April 2010.
Domino Printing Sciences, up 1.8%, announced an agreement with SYSTECH International to integrate their offerings and added that its Executive Director, Andrew Herbert, sold 4,014 ordinary shares at a price of 378.5p.
Xaar surged 8.5%, emerging as the top gainer in the Cambridge Index. Sagentia Group added 4.7%, after the company urged its shareholders to reject the mandatory offer by its new major shareholder, Mr. Martyn Ratcliffe, as it undervalued the company. Artisan (United Kingdom), up 3.8%, announced that its first half revenues declined 17.6% to £4.2 million and loss before tax narrowed 86.5% to £0.7 million. Other noticeable gainers were Dialight, ANT and Abcam, all up between 2.9% and 4.3%.
Cyan Holdings plunged 22.4%, emerging as the top loser in the Cambridge Index. Full year revenues dropped 34.3% to £0.10 million and loss before tax narrowed 30% to £3.13 million. Even though the Liz 14/19-1 well found indications of hydrocarbons, Falkland Islands Holdings declined 12.7%, as subsequent logging showed that the oil “may be present in thin intervals” and “reservoir quality is poor”.
Other prominent losers were ITM Power, Vernalis and LPA Group, all down between 8.9% and 15.7%. Pursuit Dynamics, down 7.5%, announced that it has undertaken a comprehensive review of its global corporate and financial structure.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 Index advanced 0.7% over the week to 5,744.9, hitting a fresh 21 month high, as commodity stocks recorded gains. Miners were in demand, after upbeat Chinese manufacturing data propelled metals prices to their highest level in about two years. Oil producers paced gains, as oil prices reached the highest level since October 2008. Adding to the positive sentiment, UK manufacturing activity expanded in March at its fastest pace since October 1994, and Bank of England survey revealed that UK banks may strongly increase corporate lending and unsecured lending to households over the next three months. However, the gains were restricted, as UK mortgage approvals unexpectedly dropped to 47,000 in February from 48,000 recorded in the previous month. The FTSE techMARK 100 Index fell 0.8% to 1,876.0, while the FTSE AIM 100 Index edged down 1.0% to 3,253.5.
The US markets rose during the week, as improving US manufacturing, jobless claims and consumer data lifted sentiment among investors. A weekly 1.1% fall in the dollar index helped push the metal and oil prices higher, benefiting the commodity stocks, while industrial stocks paced gains, as an index, measuring the manufacturing activity, touched a 6 year high in March.
Consumer spending rose 0.3% in February and March consumer confidence index rose to a level of 52.5 from 46.4 in the last month, while weekly initial jobless claims fell by 6,000. The Dow Jones Index gained 0.7% to 10,927.1, while the Nasdaq Index rose 0.3% to 2,402.6.
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