It’s all quiet on the Western front for equities as the first quarter finishes on a welcome note of calm. Continental Europe stocks saw small gains on the last trading day, with Asian shares also pressing ahead.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “It means the FTSE 100 is on track to record an approximate 2% gain for Q1, which investors will take as a win when you consider the period involved a major banking crisis.
“US shares had a better time, with the S&P 500 on track for a 6% first quarter gain and a 16% advance from the Nasdaq – helping to make up for their miserable showing last year.”
Meanwhile, Rio Tinto perked up after striking a deal with First Quantum Minerals, whereby the pair will collaborate on a project to advance one of the world’s biggest untapped copper deposits.
“Miners have adopted a more cautious approach to spending big money on projects since the last commodities boom ended so badly with companies drowning in debt. Sharing the costs via a joint venture is one way to spread the risks.
“The market seems to like the deal, but as with everything in mining, it will be a long and expensive journey before any copper is extracted from the deposit on a commercial scale.”