Overnight Asian trade was strong given recent trading sessions, as the Nikkei 225 almost eradicated losses for the month, and was up 5% over the last 90 days. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng was -4.5% for the month, but +6.3% for the same 90 day period. This, and sustained strength in oil saw London FTSE indices unanimously in the green at the close.
The April inflation data released today prompted Sterling to pare recent gains against the dollar, falling from $1.4495 to $1.4481 as the Consumer Price Index read came in lower than expected. CPI slipped for the first time since September last year as prices rose only 0.3% compared with a year ago, in line with the BOE estimate, but below economists’ expectations for inflation to remain at 0.5%. Inflation in the UK economy has now been below the 2% target for over two years, the fall was attributed to air ticket prices falling by 14.2% over March & April.
Taylor Wimpey(+4.7%) was one of the most recognisable stocks on the up, helping both the FTSE 100 and the FTSEurofirst 300 a leg higher. This price action was prompted as the house builder announced a special dividend worth £1.3bn to investors over three years. TW saw the UK new-build market as being ‘very positive’, provoking the improved dividend policy, as it also announced 70% of new builds had been sold for 2016 at close of April.
In other not so surprising housing news, UK house prices jumped 9% in the year to March, up from a 7.6% increase in the year to February as prices were fuelled by prospective buyers seeking to beat April’s increase in stamp duty.
At the close European indices were mixed with the FTSE 100 +0.27%, with the CAC 40 -0.54%, and the DAX 30 -0.79%.