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FTSE 100 Live: EU Inflation Slows, Wall Street Focus on Powell Speech

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Rolls-Royce leads FTSE 100, SSE and National Grid higher

Rolls-Royce’s stock market recovery accelerated today after shares of the motoring giant rose another 20%.

Analyst support at Barclays via their overweight recommendation and price target of 110p helped the FTSE 100 steadfastly gain 3% or 2.3p to 91.4p.

Shares were as low as 66p in October, but bounced back on improving stock market conditions, the recovery in air travel and relief that full-year forecasts have not been derailed by cost headwinds.

Rolls passed high as the best performing blue-chip stock during today’s session, with the broader FTSE 100 index brushing aside another set of disappointing figures from the Chinese manufacturing sector, adding another 47.29 points to 7559.29.

London’s top flight is now up year-to-date after benefiting from a 1% gain today for the UK-focused trio of Next, JD Sports Fashion and Lloyds Banking Group.

SSE and National Grid were also in the spotlight after Ofgem published its five-year investment package for electricity distribution network companies.

The total return on equity has risen from 4.7% in the draft document to 5.23% and investment deductions went from £20.9bn to £22.2bn, but as the regulator insists this will be done at no extra cost to the consumer will be.

The companies said they will examine the numbers in detail before commenting, but initial investor opinion appeared positive after SSE shares rose 24p to 1700p and National Grid added 5.5p to 1014p.

The FTSE 250 index cheered 79.48 points to 19,265.64, with Wizz Air one of the biggest gainers in quite a session for the aviation sector. Shares rose 102p to 2252p, while easyjet added 7.1p to 390p in the wake of yesterday’s results.

AIM-listed gift wrapping firm IG Design rose 5% or 6p to 120p after saying in today’s interim results it now expects to make a small profit in the year to March.

The company, whose Tom Smith brand is the official supplier of Christmas crackers to the Royal Household, has benefited from the turnaround and customers submitting festive orders to avoid a repeat of last year’s supply chain problems.