Global markets report, 31 March

• FTSE 100 up 0.4% to 6,615

• Gold up 0.31% to $1,295.27/oz

• £/$ – 1.6638

The FTSE 100 ended the week in a positive mood on Friday, rising 0.4% to close at 6,615. For the week as a whole, the index gained 0.9%.

Medical equipment maker Smith & Nephew was the day’s highest climber, up 2.4% after being rated a ‘buy’. Other top performers included Standard Chartered and G4S, which each added 2.2%.

Insurers were firmly out of favour, however. Resolution was the biggest faller of the day, down 7.1%, while Legal & General, Aviva and Prudential lost between 3.5% and 2.6%.

In Europe yesterday, the Paris CAC 40 rose 32 points to 4,411 and the German Xetra Dax rose 136 points to 9,587.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 16,323, the S&P 500 added 0.5% to 1,857, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.1% higher at 4,155.

Overnight in Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.9% to 14,827, and the broader Topix gained 1.4% to 1,202. And in China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4% to 2,033, and the CSI 300 lost 0.2% to 2,146.

Brent spot was trading at $107.91 early today, and in New York, crude oil was at $101.51. Spot gold was trading at $1,292 an ounce, silver was at $19.82 and platinum was at $1,418.

In the forex markets this morning, sterling was trading against the US dollar at 1.6648 and against the euro at 1.2098. The dollar was trading at 0.7266 against the euro and 102.98 against the Japanese yen.

And in the UK, house prices rose by 0.6% in March as demand for property outstrips supply, according to the latest data from Hometrack. Demand grew by 6.6%, with supply up by just 1.9%. The southeast of England is facing a shortfall of at least 160,000 homes by 2018, says Hometrack.

Merryn

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