FTSE up 70 points

London’s top flight index resumed its new year rally today as it was cheered by encouraging data from both sides of the Atlantic.

America’s employers added 157,000 jobs last month, while figures for November and December were revised sharply higher, helping the FTSE 100 Index close 70.4 points higher at 6347.2.

Significantly improved US manufacturing figures also helped sentiment on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average made strong early session gains.

Figures showing that output from the UK manufacturing sector rose last month at its fastest pace since September 2011, failed to prevent the pound from falling against the dollar to 1.57.

It was also down against the euro at 1.15 after both unemployment and inflation across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro was lower than anticipated.

Today’s gains on the FTSE 100 follow falls yesterday, but the top tier still saw the strongest January since 1989.

It has risen by more than 6% since the start of the year, with around £96bn (€111.9bn) added to the value of blue chip shares in January.

It was telecoms giant BT that led the charge on London’s blue chip index. Shares were up 7%, or 16.2p to 264.8p, after it reported a 7% rise in pre-tax profits to £675m (€787m) in the three months to December 31 and said it saw rapid growth in its broadband customer base.

Guinness owner Diageo also made strong gains after it reported operating profits ahead of City forecasts yesterday.

It said its emerging markets continued to perform strongly and robust sales of premium spirits in North America also helped the company’s revenues performance. Shares were up 29p to 1906p.

But sugar and ingredients group Tate & Lyle was suffering after its trading update confirmed that underlying third quarter profits were lower than a year earlier, although in line with expectations. Shares in the Silver Spoon group fell 1% or 8.5p to 804p.

Barclays was another stock in the red, down 1p to 300p, as its pay plans remain in the spotlight after chief executive Antony Jenkins said he would waive his 2012 bonus.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell shares lost further value today after the fourth quarter performance of its upstream operations disappointed analysts on Thursday.

Overall profits for 2012 were 6% lower at $27bn (€786bn), although it said around 30 new projects under construction should drive production growth going forward. Shares fell another 10p to 2304p.

Elsewhere, bank note printer De La Rue was 6% higher after an update confirming that order intake has been satisfactory with some previously delayed orders having now been received.

Shares in the FTSE 250 Index firm rose 51.5p to 953.5p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were BT Group up 16.2p to 264.8p, Vedanta Resources ahead 55p to 1259p, Reed Elsevier 26.5p higher at 713.5p and Tullow Oil up 41p to 1179p.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Tate & Lyle down 8.5p to 804p, Royal Bank of Scotland off 2.8p to 340.5p, BAE Systems 1.7p lower at 337.9p and Legal & General down 0.6p to 151.8p.

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