By Emily Horton
London’s markets rose on Tuesday, after China set new growth targets and Vodafone Group PLC led the FTSE 100 leader board.
A weak pound was also helping lift the main index.
How are markets performing?
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.05% climbed 0.5% to 7,170.80.
Meanwhile, the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.1128% fell 0.4% to $1.3124.
What’s driving the markets?
China lowered its growth target to between a range of 6% to 6.5% on Monday, placing it below last year’s 6.6% growth target. The lower bound of the target would mark a three decade low for China’s economic growth, however it would still be among the world’s strongest economies.
The British pound slipped on Tuesday, following reports that the U.K. government does not expect any breakthrough to be achieved at a meeting between British Attorney General Geoffrey Fox and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier. A weak pound can boost the bigger index because
U.K. banks will be able to borrow in euros from the Bank of England from next week, the latest move to shore up the U.K.’s financial system in the event of an abrupt and messy break from the European Union.
The BOE warned, however, that investors should still prepare for severe disruption in financial markets if the U.K. tumbles out of the EU March 29 with no-deal.
U.K. services PMI came in above forecast, showing a modest increase in activity.
What stocks are active?
Telecommuications giant Vodafone Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/202484985/delayed UK:VOD +1.17% topped the FTSE leader board on Tuesday, adding 3% after the group announced plans to sell $4.5 billion of convertible bonds to help fund its acquisition of some of Liberty Global PLC’s European business.
“It’s rare these days to see Vodafone as the biggest riser on the FTSE 100 given its share price has been depressed for a long time amid market concerns about the sustainability of its dividend.
“It bucks the trend on Tuesday to top the FTSE leader board on news it plans to raise circa €4 billion through issuing bonds. Vodafone’s share price strength helps lift the blue chip index because it is one of the FTSE’s biggest constituents,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said in a note to clients.
Intertek Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/209087067/delayed UK:ITRK -0.09% lost 3% on Tuesday after reporting its results, with UBS analysts raising concerns about a slowdown, despite a pretax profit rise of 2.8%.
Meanwhile, equipment rental company Ashtead Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/200232063/delayed UK:AHT +1.82% dropped by nearly 1% despite well received results. The company’s management said that its strong performance appears to have translated into “some short term profit-taking on recent advances,” said Mould, who added that it “probably reflects concern that the U.S. economy is slowing down”.