• FTSE 100 up 0.9% to 6,681
• Gold down 0.47% to $1,283.79/oz
• £/$ – 1.6824
The FTSE 100 returned from the long weekend in high spirits, rising 0.9% to close at 6,681.
A flurry of activity among the big pharmaceutical companies drove the index higher. Shire was the day’s highest climber with a 7.6% rise, while GlaxoSmithKline added 5.2% and AstraZeneca was 4.7% higher.
In Europe on Thursday, the Paris CAC 40 rose 53 points to 4,484 and the German Xetra Dax gained 191 points to 9,600.
In the US yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 each rose 0.4% to 16,514 and 1,879 respectively, and the Nasdaq Composite was 1% higher at 4,161.
Overnight in Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.1% to 14,546, and the broader Topix index added 1% to 1,173. And in China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% to 2,067, and the CSI 300 slipped 0.1% to 2,194.
In the forex markets this morning, sterling was trading against the US dollar at 1.6805 and against the euro at 1.2165. The dollar was trading at 0.7239 against the euro and 102.52 against the Japanese yen.
And today, retailer Sports Direct issued a healthy trading update. Sales in the nine weeks to 30 March grew by 10.3% to £326.3m, and gross profit rose by 11.5% to £147m.