FTSE 100 adds 0.55%, Comcast, Dell, Deere and Family Dollar Strores rise in premarket


The FTSE 100 rose 0.55% in the morning, tracking gains in Asian markets and US stock index futures.

The Office for National Statistics reported today that the number of jobless people in the UK increased by 44,000 to 2.5 million in the final quarter of 2010, while the unemployment rate reached 7.9%.

Insurance focused investor Resolution (LON:RSL) led the blue chips with a gain of nearly 5%.

Engineering group GKN (LON:GKN) followed with a 4.4% gain.

Land Securities (LON:LAND)
and British Land (LON:BLND) rose 3.3% and 2.5% after HSBC (LON:HSBA) upgraded the commercial property companies from underweight to neutral and from neutral to overweight respectively, while Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) also raised its price target for British Land from 643 pence to 645 pence.

British Land last traded at 556 pence.

BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) was the heaviest faller, dipping 2.2% after reporting its half year results.

The world’s largest miner said that revenues were up 39% to US$34.17 billion and profits jumped 71.5% to US$10.52 billion.

However, BHP upped its dividend by just 9% to 46 US cents.

Tullow Oil (LON:TLW)
lost nearly 2% after announcing that its Gharabi-1 well offshore Mauritania will be plugged and abandoned after intersecting a water bearing reservoir.

Elsewhere in Europe, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.8%, Spain’s IBEX 35 rallied 1.45% and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.1%.

Financial bookmakers are expecting a positive start on Wall Street. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ indexes rose 0.3% in the morning.

Shares in Dell (NYSE:DELL) surged 6.9% in pre-market. Comcast (NYSE:CMCSA) and Deere & Co (NYSE:DE) climbed 2.3%.

Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) soared 26%.

Airgas (NYSE:ARG) dropped 3.5% and Staples (NYSE:SPLS) shed 1%.

In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.85%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.1% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 tacked on 0.6%, while South Korea’s KOSPI dipped 1.1%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 held steady.

Today’s US data will include building permits and housing starts, industrial production and the producer prices index.

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