FTSE 100 hits stride with third record high in one week
It pushed past Monday’s all-time high when the index closed above 7,800 points for the first time.
The FTSE 100 hit its third record high in just one week, with stocks buoyed by signs of continued improvement in the trading relationship between the US and China.
London’s blue chip index ended the day up 0.2% or 18.28 points at 7,877.45 points, marking a fresh all-time high.
It pushed past Monday’s record of 7,859.17 points, having closed above 7,800 points for the first time.
The FTSE 100’s previous high was logged just last Thursday.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Equity markets have enjoyed a good run today, as the trading relationship between the US and China continues to improve.
“Beijing revealed it will cut the import levy on US cars from 25% to 15%, and this is seen as a positive given the strained relations between the two countries.
“The move by the Chinese government has certainly lifted global sentiment: the FTSE 100 hit another record high today, and the DAX reached its highest level since early February, after being closed yesterday for a public holiday.”
Across Europe, the German DAX closed up 0.7% while the French CAC 40 was flat.
The pound was making gains on Tuesday, rising 0.1% against the US dollar to trade at 1.344 and climbing 0.2% versus the euro to around 1.140.
The UK currency was reacting to comments from the Bank of England, which signalled that interest rates could rise up to six times as part of a gradual increase over the next three years.
The Treasury Select Committee also heard Bank Governor Mark Carney raise the prospect of further growth ahead, having blamed the first quarter slowdown on temporary and “idiosyncratic” factors including snowfalls.
In oil markets, Brent crude prices jumped 1.1% to around 80.33 US dollars per barrel as traders weighed the prospect of reduced supplies from Venezuela and Iran – with the latter facing renewed sanctions from the US.
In UK stocks, Marks & Spencer dropped to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after the retailer said it was going to close 100 stores by 2020.
Traders took a poor view of the company’s prospects, sending shares down 8.6p to 291.8p.
Whitbread’s shares closed up 49p at 4,233p as a Press Association report said the company’s Costa Coffee chain is being circled by a clutch of private equity firms, opening the door to a potential £3 billion sale of the high street chain.
Royal Dutch Shell’s ‘B’ shares fell 14.5p to 2,826.5p amid news that 25.2% of shareholders rejected Shell’s remuneration report over an 8.9 million euro (£7.8 million) package for chief executive Ben van Beurden.
Away from the top tier, Halfords’ shares fell 45.6p at 342.4p after the motor accessories and bikes retailer reported a 6% fall in full-year profits to £67.1 million – partly due to rising costs linked to the Brexit-hit pound.
Topps Tiles’ shares rose 2.2p to 71.2p despite the group reporting a 32.6% plunge in half-year pre-tax profits.
Entertainment One also fell 3.6p to 285.4p despite logging a rise in full-year pre-tax profits from £35.9 million to £77.6 million, thanks in part to the popularity of Peppa Pig.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo up 45.5p to 1,315.5p, Mediclinic International up 22p to 686p, Micro Focus International up 44p to 1,386p, and Melrose Industries up 5.1p to 247p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Marks & Spencer down 8.6p to 291.8p, Tui down 42.5p to 1,768p, Paddy Power Betfair down 125p to 8,665p and BAE Systems down 7.6p to 646.2p.