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European markets rise after reassurances from Fed on interest rates

Published 30/03/2016

The FTSE 100 Index rose 80.2 points to 6186.1
The FTSE 100 Index rose 80.2 points to 6186.1

European markets soared after US Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen eased concerns that an interest rate hike was around the corner.

The FTSE 100 index stepped up more than 1.5% - climbing 97.27 to 6203.17 - in the wake of Ms Yellen's reassurance on Tuesday that the Fed would move cautiously when it came to further interest rate rises in America.

The Cac 40 in France picked up more than 1.7%, while Germany's Dax joined the rally, climbing 1.6%.

Hawkish comments from two US policymakers last week had triggered concerns that the Fed was on course to increase rates further.

The pound was up slightly against the US dollar at 1.44, following the comments by the US Fed. Sterling was slightly lower against the euro, at 1.27.

Commodity stocks led the charge on the London market, buoyed by an increase in the price of Brent crude by 1.6% to 39.77 US dollars a barrel.

The FTSE 100-listed mining giants were among the biggest risers, with Anglo American and Rio Tinto rising 56.6p to 535.7p and 110p to 1973p respectively.

Elsewhere in stocks , Premier Foods was in the takeover spotlight after rebuffing a third takeover bid worth £537 million from Schwartz spice owner McCormick & Company.

The US spice and herbs giant put forward a sweetened 65p-a-share proposal and urged the Premier board to open talks.

But while Premier batted away the approach, it agreed to open talks for the first time with McCormick to discuss its current trading and liabilities, and ''establish whether McCormick will increase its offer price to a recommendable level''.

In a further twist, it emerged today that Japanese noodle giant Nissin upped its stake in Premier Foods to 19.9% at 63p per share yesterday, from a 17.3% holding it snapped up last week as part of a new co-operation agreement.

Premier shares rose more than 4% or 2.5p to 59p.

One of the few fallers in the top flight was budget carrier easyJet, slipping 5p to 1520p, following a broker downgrade by UBS over Brexit fears.

UBS said "investor uncertainties" surrounding the UK's EU referendum on June 23 "will continue to make investors hesitant to build a stake in easyJet".

However, shares in British Airways owner International Airlines Group lifted 2.2p to 553.5p.

Elsewhere, troubled model rail firm Hornby saw shares surge by 7% as it was given a reprieve by its lender after widening losses left it at risk of breaching the terms of its bank loans.

The group - whose brands also include Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi - said Barclays had agreed to a waiver this month and added that recent trading had been "encouraging".

Shares, which have fallen more than 70% in the past six months, lifted 2.2p to 30.7p.

The biggest risers in the FTSE 100 Index were Anglo American up 56.6p to 535.7p, Standard Chartered up 32.7p to 472.1p, Rio Tinto up 110p to 1973p, BHP Billiton up 43.6p to 793.6p.

The biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Next down 75p to 5560p, Worldpay down 3.2p to 272p, London Stock Exchange down 13p to 2820p, Berkeley Group down 13p to 3254p.

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