Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 falls just short of breaking through 6,700 mark

London's top flight index fell just short of breaking through t he 6,700 mark for the first time in eleven months after shares in ARM Holdings soared following its takeover approach from Japan's SoftBank.

The FTSE 100 Index was 26.2 points higher at 6695.4 after the value of the UK microchip designer jumped more than 40%, or 486p to 1675p, after the Japanese firm tabled a £24 billion deal.

SoftBank pledged to double the tech giant's 3,000-strong UK workforce over the next five years, while holding on to its Cambridge headquarters and its existing management team.

The deal is the biggest ever Asian investment in the UK and values the technology firm at 1700p per share, a 43% premium on Friday's closing share price of 1189p.

Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said: "The pound is down around 10% since the referendum and this makes British firms a lot more attractive.

He added: "Poundland was recently snapped up by Steinhoff and if this ARM deal is anything to go by, we can expect a torrent of deals to flow."

The pound also rallied higher after Bank of England policymaker Martin Weale questioned whether interest rates needed to be cut next month from 0.5%, where they have remained since March 2009.

Mr Weale, a member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said the Bank was "not a nurse to markets" and there were no signs that consumers or businesses were "panic-struck" following Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

The MPC defied predictions by keeping interest rates on hold earlier this month, but signalled action could be taken in August to boost the economy.

Sterling was up 0.7% against the dollar at 1.329 US dollars, while the pound also rose 0.3% against the euro at 1.199 euros.

The pound, which has slumped to 31-year lows after Britain voted to leave the European Union, stepped up more than 1% against the dollar on Thursday when the MPC voted for a no-change decision.

Across Europe, Germany's Dax was slightly down, while the Cac 40 in France edged 0.3% lower.

The price of oil took a tumble after an economic report by market intelligence firm Genscape pointed to rising US stocks of crude.

Brent crude was down 1.8% or 86 cents to 46.75 US dollars a barrel.

In stocks, travel firms were under pressure amid fears that the failed coup attempt in Turkey would have a damaging impact on the tourism industry.

TUI group was among the biggest fallers, down 19p to 942.5p, while budget airline easyJet edged down 2p to 1138p.

However, housebuilders were enjoying a lift after Mr Weale signalled that he may not vote for an interest rate cut in August.

Taylor Wimpey was up 3.7p to 147.7p, Charles Church-builder Persimmon lifted 34p to 1605p and Berkeley Group rose 56p to 2680p.

Property stocks have regained strength in recent weeks after taking a hammering in the wake of the Brexit vote amid fears that Britain's decision to leave the European Union would impact demand.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 index were ARM Holdings up 486p to 1675p, Royal Bank of Scotland up 5.8p to 189.8p, Marks and Spencer up 9.4p to 334.7p, Taylor Wimpey up 3.7p to 147.7p.

The biggest fallers were BHP Billiton down 19.7p to 976.8p, TUI down 19p to 942.5p, BP down 7.9p to 449.3p, BT Group down 5p to 395p.