FTSE surges on US data (AFP)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 | Finance News

Shares in London, undeterred by swine flu and bolstered by positive consumer data from the United States, surged on Wednesday after big gains in Asia.

The FTSE 100 index climbed 2.27 percent to close at 4,189.59 points.

Investors focused on the Commerce Department report of a 2.2 percent jump in US consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of US economic activity, after a decline of 4.3 percent in the fourth-quarter of 2008.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was the most widely traded stock, seeing 149 million units change hands, followed by Vodafone, which saw 148 million switch owners.

RBS also led the blue chip risers, climbing 4.1 pence -- or 12.5 percent -- to end at 36.8, followed by fellow banker Barclays, which gained 24.25 pence -- or 10.4 percent -- to stand at 256.5.

Home Retail was the day's worst performer, shedding 6.25 pence -- or 2.31 percent -- to finish at 263.75, while property group Liberty International lost 7.65 pence -- or 1.91 percent -- to end at 394.

Elsewhere, the pound was up against the dollar while it dipped against the euro.

Sterling was worth 1.4793 dollars at 15:58 BST, up from 1.4634 at Tuesday's close, while it fell to 1.1100 euros from 1.1129 over the same period.