FTSE rises on back of Obama pledge

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The FTSE 100 Index rose 45.3 points to 5963.1 on opening

A pledge by US president Barack Obama to create jobs and spur growth in the world’s biggest economy helped give a lift to shares in London today.

In his annual State of the Union speech, Mr Obama called for the lowering of the corporate tax rate as part of efforts to revive the US economy.

His comments helped switch attention away from Tuesday’s dismal fourth quarter output figures as the FTSE 100 Index rose 45.3 points to 5963.1.

Market heavyweight Vodafone led the recovery with a rise of 5p to 184.5p, while insurer Prudential weighed in with a gain of 17p to 1446p.

Oil firm BG topped the risers board after an exploration venture in which it has a 30% stake discovered “high quality” oil in deep waters at an offshore field in Brazil. Shares jumped 42p to 1368.5p, a rise of 3%.

Outside the top flight, shares in WH Smith were 1% higher despite the retailer announcing a further deterioration in like-for-like sales.

Chief executive Kate Swann said the retailer remained on track to meet forecasts due to its focus on costs and more profitable ranges. Shares were 6.8p higher at 487.6p.

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