News - Economics / markets
Categories: Economics / Markets
The FTSE 100 has opened 0.06% or 3.24 points lower to 5,774 in early trading as rises in retail stocks were offset by falling mining shares.
Retailers were in the spotlight after the British Retail Consortium said UK sales in March rose at their fastest rate in almost four years thanks to the earlier timing of Easter. Total retail sales rose 6.6%, against 0.6% growth in March 2009.
Among the retailers making gains, Kingfisher rose 1.29% to 235.5p, Home Retail advanced 0.44% to 295.5p and Marks & Spencer added 0.64% to 378.2p.
However, Debenhams fell 3.38% to 75.75p despite posting a rise in profits in the half year to 27 February.
Miners led market fallers. Antofagasta dropped 2.3% to £10.21, while Kazakhmys fell 1.97% to £15.46 and Xstrata slipped 1.72% to £12.60.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed above 11,000 for the first time in 19 months as expectations of positive first quarter earnings spurred markets.
Overnight, the index closed up 0.08% or 8.62 points to 11,005 as earnings season got underway.
Caterpillar made the day's biggest gains, up 2.24% to $66.73. Other big movers included American Express, rising 1.5% to $44.54, and Alcoa, advancing 1.25% to $14.57.
In Asia, the Nikkei slipped 0.81% or 90.67 points to 11,161.
The yen rose against the euro and US dollar as relief over Greece gave way to uncertainty. The stronger yen led to profit taking on the index.
Meanwhile, Isuzu Motor climbed 3.12% to ¥264 after an earnings upgrade, while Sanyo Electric gained 1.32% to ¥154 on a report it could see a 50% jump in operating profit this financial year.