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RBS tops FTSE100 after Abu Dhabi talks

It appeared some of yesterday’s Federal Reserve induced positive sentiment spilled over into today’s trade, with European markets making mixed gains at the open. France also posted economic data that showed a better than expected gain in consumer confidence in March, a leading indicator of consumer spending that contributes significantly to economic growth. The news, along with suggestions of a bigger eurozone firewall by Angela Merkel yesterday, helped European markets gain around half a percent, although the UK was a noticeable underperformer compared to French and German indices.

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland surged in early trade on news that talks were being conducted between UK Financial Investments (representing the UK government’s stake in the bank) and Abu Dhabi investors. The UK Treasury however said that it will only sell the governments holding when it is confident it can return maximum value for British taxpayers. With the shares closing higher at 28.7p today, the 3.3% gain leaves the shares priced a long way from the 49.9p that the government paid for its 83% stake in 2008.

The most significant news form the US was an S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 US cities that showed no change in house prices from December to January on a seasonally adjusted basis, although showed a 0.8% decline on an actual basis. This was the first time the index did not decline since July 2011 (seasonally adjusted), and beat expectations that had anticipated a slight fall at this level. With a nominal fall month on month and with markets buoyant from yesterday’s central bank comments, the news wasn’t sufficient to propel US stocks much higher and they remained flat, near the multi-year highs reached yesterday.

The FTSE 100 lost some ground towards the end of the trading session, the decline acceleration appearing to correlate with the US open and the mixed housing data. London’s Blue-Chip index ended the day down 33 points, or approximately 0.6% lower at 5896.6.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by James .

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