LONDON’S FTSE 100 Index steadied today after a much-needed recovery for Japanese stocks helped to calm the nerves of investors worldwide.
The Nikkei 225 rallied nearly 6% overnight after panic selling in the wake of the country’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis sent Tokyo’s benchmark index to a two-year low on Tuesday.
Japanese car makers and financial companies were the main beneficiaries as investors went in search of cheap-looking stocks following the sell-off.
European shares have taken a battering in recent days, but the FTSE 100 Index held firm today at 5697.5, a rise of 2.2 points on the start of trading.
Attention was focused on the retail sector after results from French Connection and Greggs and a broker upgrade for Primark owner Associated British Foods.
AB Foods topped the FTSE 100 risers board with a rise of 4% or 37.25p to 977.25p after Credit Suisse changed it rating to outperform and said rising prices were set to benefit the company’s sugar operations.
Greggs and French Connection were both rewarded with higher share prices after posting improved full-year results. The fashion business, which made profits from continuing operations of £8.9 million in the year to January 31, rose 1.75p to 121.5p, while bakery chain Greggs jumped 16.55p to 482.45p after reporting strong profits and a positive start to the new financial year.