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FTSE 100 advances as banks and house builders soar

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London’s FTSE 100 edged slightly higher on Monday buoyed by banking and housebuilder stocks, as data indicates soaring prices of houses.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed eight points up at 7,077, with banks stocks, including Barclays PLC, Lloyds Banking Group, and HSBC Holdings, among the top gainers. The domestically focused FTSE 250 also advanced 75 points to close at 22,908.

The surge of over 1.8 per cent in the housebuilder sector came as the Halifax Price Index said the average home in the UK has become about £22,000 more expensive than it was a year ago, increasing to a record high. However, office space provider IWG slumped to a four-month low after issuing a profit warning.

Across the pond, the US stocks had a mixed closing after major indices slumped, though they recovered from the day’s lows at the end of trading. The S&P 500 fell 0.1 per cent after the materials sector weighed on the market, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.4 per cent. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.5 per cent helped by gains in biopharmaceutical company Biogen.

The subdued ending for US stocks weighed on Asian markets on Tuesday morning. Japan’s Nikkei 225 opened lower, deepening its losses in the middle hours by 0.2 per cent after the Japanese economy declined an annualised 3.9 per cent in January-March.

South Korea’s Kospi was trading near flatline around noon. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, however, rose in opening after declining on Monday but was soon weighed down to lose 0.3 per cent. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite slumped 0.5 per cent.

Indian indices were trading lower on Tuesday dragged by mixed global cues and losses in banking and financial stocks. The Mumbai’s Sensex opened flat but fell down by 0.3 per cent in the early minutes. The Nifty 50, which topped the 15,750 mark on Monday, slumped 0.4 per cent in the first hour.

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