StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE closed higher on Friday reaching its highest level since October 2019 as a raft of positive economic data was released in the US and China.

US new homes increased 19.4% in March, the biggest monthly gain since 2006 during the housing bubble. The University of Michigan consumer confidence was higher showing increasing consumer confidence, although the reading of 86.5 was below economists' forecasts.

At 4.30pm, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.52%, at 7,019.53 points.

Fund manager Man Group rose 0.8% to 166.7p after reporting a rise in quarterly funds under management in the first quarter driven by investment gains and net fund inflows.

IT provider Kainos fell 3.1% to £16.45 even as it expected annual results within the upper end of current market consensus forecasts as momentum seen earlier this year had been maintained.

Essential components and solutions company Essentra nudged-up up 1.2% to 302.5p after reporting an encouraging start to the year with Q1 like-for-like revenue growing 1.4% and in line with expectations.

Emerging markets asset manager Ashmore dipped 3.4% to 403.6p adfter reporting a fall in third-quarter assets under management as volatile market conditions weighed on investment performance.

The company touted optimism, saying central bank policies are expected to remain supportive, which provides a solid backdrop for 'continued superior' economic growth and strong performance in emerging markets.

Saint-Gobain was added 1.1% to €53.24 after agreeing to sell 67% of its pipe business in China to a consortium led by local management in a deal worth around €100 million.


Story provided by StockMarketWire.com