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US shares on the up as global data calms nerves

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US stocks opened higher on Wall Street as traders celebrated upbeat global data.

The rise puts an end to days of straight losses in markets across the pond.

The global data included reports, which showed US manufacturing activity hit a five-month high this month.

Also in focus was Chinese and Eurozone numbers, which hinted at signs of a global recovery.

For now, at least it puts into touch ongoing fears about Fed tapering, which has dominated sentiment in recent days.

The benchmark Dow rose 0.14%, while Nasdaq gained 0.76%. The broader S&P 500 rose 0.50% to stand at 1,651.

GameStop Corp rose 16.9% was the biggest riser on S&P 500, reaching an all time high on the back of strong Q2 numbers.

The biggest faller was clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch (LON:ANF).

Meanwhile, in the UK, Britain’s blue chip shares were on course to make up for two straight days of losses.

The index of leading shares is up 65 to 6,456.

Manufacturing activity in the world’s fastest-growing superpower grew in August, after contracting the previous month, according to HSBC’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

The index rose from 47.7 to 50.1, with a reading of 50 or above showing expansion.

“Expectations were for a reading of 48.3, and the better number does appear to suggest that the recent tax cuts for small businesses may be starting to have an effect,” said CMC Markets’ Michael Hewson.

The news boosted mining shares on the Footsie, with Glencore Xstrata (LON:GLEN), BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) among the big names towards the top of the chart.

Wolseley (LON:WOS) shares also warmed up on Thursday as the heating and plumbing parts distributor was upgraded to ‘buy’ by UBS.

The Swiss broker reckons now is a good time to buy the snap up the shares ahead of its full-year results, which are due out on October 1. The shares rose 4.1% to £33.25.

Engineer IMI (LON:IMI) topped the blue chip risers as it revealed it expects improved trading for the second half of the year.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, reckons income seekers will like the 8% increase in the interim dividend.

There was also encouraging data on the eurozone as growth in the region hit a 26-month high, according to a survey from Markit. Its PMI rose to 51.7 points from 50.5 in July.

Initial US jobless claims for last week meanwhile were 336,000, up 13,000 on the previous week, which was slightly higher than expected. 

This is good news for those hoping the Fed will stick to its bond buying programme amid fears it could begin scaling back dollar printing by the end of the year – a move some fear would stunt growth at the world’s largest economy.

On the mid-cap index, Argos owner Home Retail Group (LON:HOME) rose 5.10%, joined by fellow retailers WH Smith (LON:SMWH) and Halfords (LON:HFD).

As for the juniors market, SolGold (LON:SOLG) was the star of the show, skyrocketing over 93% to 7.945 each after it got the all-important go-ahead from the authorities to drill Cascabel.

An environment licence will now be received in the next few weeks, the company said. 

The drill rig, which was 5km away, is now being mobilised to Cascabel's Alpha prospect ready for the start of the programme.

The shares have more than doubled in the past six months as interest has grown about its Cascabel copper-gold project in Ecuador, while most others in the sector have been struggling to get their stock to hold firm amid falling commodity prices.

Rare Earth Minerals (LON:REM) is also something of a rarity in the small cap mining space. Its shares are up over 1,000% in the last month thanks to another 27% rise today, bringing the price to 0.465p.

The company, chaired by serial entrepreneur David Lenigas, got the final results from its Mexican lithium project yesterday, which provided further evidence that it could be part of a major high grade lithium discovery.

Lithium is an important metal in the quest for energy and is used in electric cars, the market for which is growing quickly.

“The sUBStantial amount of lithium-bearing clays present also represents an interesting opportunity for supply to the oil industry since these clays are becoming increasingly necessary for HTHP drilling muds now being used in deep oil and gas wells and for fracking,” Lenigas added.

Plethora Solutions (LON:PLE) rose 4.74% after agreeing a deal with a partner that will allow it to take control of the global development and marketing of PSD502, its treatment for premature ejaculation.

Netplay TV (LON:NPT) shares rose 11.76% as it revealed its brand SuperCasino.com will be the headline sponsor for Celebrity Big Brother 2013, which starts today.

Other notable gains came from Red Rock Resources (LON:RRR), up 24.03%, Ortac Resources (LON:OTC), which rose 24.44%, while London Mining (LON:LOND) climbed over 17% as it made its first operating profit since starting production at the Marampa iron ore mine in Sierra Leone.

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Price: 16.76 USD

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