Bailout talks give boost to markets


The FTSE 100 Index stood 56.9 points higher at 6042.6 in afternoon trading

Markets on both sides of the Atlantic moved higher on Tuesday after being boosted by talk that Europe’s bailout fund may be enlarged.

Finance ministers met in Brussels where they discussed the possibility of pouring more cash into the European Stability Fund, helping to calm investors’ fears that the eurozone could deal with another debt crisis.

The FTSE 100 Index rallied nearly 1%, or 56.9 points, to 6042.6 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4% higher.

The US market was also buoyed by the news that banking giant Citigroup returned to the black after posting net income of $10.6 billion (£6.6 billion) last year.

Back in Europe, it was reported that governments that enjoy a “triple-A” credit rating on international borrowing markets resolved in private talks to boost lending capacity for more troubled partners.

Fears surrounding the ongoing debt woes on the continent have troubled European markets for months as uncertainty mounts over the future of other key economies, including Portugal and Spain.

The news was enough to lift HSBC shares 6p to 709.5p. But Barclays, which is heavily exposed to the Iberian peninsula, lost earlier gains as it fell 0.3%, or 1p, to 305.5p while Lloyds also lost earlier gains, slipping 0.4p to 67.7p.

The euro strengthened on the back of the improved sentiment and was up against the pound at 1.19. But the pound was up against the dollar at 1.6 after official figures revealed UK inflation surged to 3.7% in December.

Fashion house Burberry topped the risers’ board after it delivered another forecast-beating trading update. The retailer surged more than 4%, up 47p to 1106p, after underlying revenues rose 27% in the third quarter and it guided the market towards full-year profits at the top end of City expectations.

Miners also recovered from losses experienced on Monday, sparked by uncertainty around China’s plans for monetary tightening, with Kazakhmys up 57p at 1673p and Eurasian Natural Resources up 32p at 1104p.

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