Belfast Telegraph

FTSE 100 ends higher after US markets break record ground

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 set fresh record highs.

The FTSE 100 ended in positive territory (PA)
The FTSE 100 ended in positive territory (PA)

The FTSE 100 enjoyed another day in positive territory on Thursday as it took its cue from across the pond, where US markets hit record highs.

London’s top flight closed up 36.2 points, or 0.5%, at 7,367.32.

It came as the Dow Jones and S&P 500 set fresh record highs, helping spearhead a global rally in stocks as US-China trade war fears receded.

“The latest round of tariffs that were announced during the week weren’t as severe has some traders were anticipating, and the market has breathed a sigh of relief.

“The fear of new tariffs proved to be worse than the tariffs themselves, and even though the US and China now have a worse trading relationship, dealers are still optimistic as there is no sign of additional tariffs in sight,” said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets.

In currencies, sterling rallied to hit a 10-week high following better than expected retail sales figures.

Retail sales were up 0.3% in August on the month before, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Sales of household goods jumped by 4.5% while other non-food stores enjoyed a 2.8% rise, although food sales fell by 0.6% and clothing fell by 1.9%.

The last three months of summer from June to August saw sales rise by 3.4% compared with the previous summer, with food and household goods stores doing well in the warm weather.

The data helped the pound rise nearly 0.8% versus the US dollar to 1.324, although some of the shine was taken off by further Brexit setbacks for Theresa May.

Versus the euro, sterling was up 0.1% to 1.126.

In stocks, Sky shares ended flat at 1,580p after the Takeover Panel announced the long-running bidding battle for the broadcaster will be decided in a quick-fire auction finishing on Saturday night.

The Panel said Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and US media giant Comcast have agreed to settle the takeover tussle with a three-round auction that is due to kick off at 5pm on Friday and end during the evening of September 22.

Diageo closed the day up despite warning over “volatility” in some of its markets, with profits expected to take a £45 million hit due to currency fluctuations.

The group behind Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka said trading for the year had “started well” and that performance was still in line with expectations.

Shares closed up 41p at 2,654p.

Shares in fashion retailer French Connection dropped after revealing widening half-year losses and an £800,000 hit from the House of Fraser collapse.

The group reported pre-tax losses of £15.1 million for the six months to July 31 against losses of £5.9 million a year earlier, following writedowns including the House of Fraser impact and store leases.

The firm’s stock closed down 3.1p at 47p.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX closed up 0.88% while France’s CAC ended the day up 1.14%.

A barrel of Brent crude was trading at 78.7 US dollars, a fall of 0.73%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Associated British Foods up 60p at 2,285p, Fresnillo up 22p at 847.6p, Rio Tinto up 94.5p at 3,817p and Antofagasta up 21p at 858p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry down 103p at 2,008p, GVC down 27.5p at 971p, Kingfisher down 4.3p at 242.7p and Rightmove down 5.6p at 470.4p.

Press Association