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FTSE 100 CLOSE: Index finishes up 70 points as investors bet life will return to normal soon

JIM ARMITAGE
www.jasonhawkes.com

The FTSE 100 added 74.54 points at 6218.79 today amid hopes for a global recovery from the coronavirus.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Even with the Dow Jones losing some of its swagger, the European indices clung fiercely to their optimistic rally on Thursday.

“For the FTSE, it had to overcome the heavy losses incurred by Standard Chartered and HSBC, which fell on the China-Hong Kong developments. That didn’t stop the UK from climbing, briefly sauntering past 6225 for the first time since early March.”

M&G rose, still benefiting from yesterday's decision to stick with paying a dividend.

Meanwhile low-cost airline easyJet jumped as it announced plans to slash staff by 30% and shrink its fleet. Cineworld surged to the top of the second division leaderboard after it secured new funds and said its cinemas would reopen in July.

Retailers, such as Next and Burberry, bounced higher as preparations continue to get stores reopened on UK high streets on June 15. In company news, Boohoo jumped after the online retailer bought the remaining stake of Pretty Little Thing from its founder and operating chief.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey dealt a sombre note on the economy. He wrote in the Guardian that the recovery would be long and hard.

But he hinted more quantitative easing was likely and this kept traders in buoyant mood.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were M&G, up 10p at 150p, Burberry, up 103.5p at 1,583.5p, Evraz, up 17.9p at 290.7p, and Melrose, up 7.2p at 125.85p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Rolls-Royce, down 27.1p at 319p, Standard Chartered, down 19.3p at 392.1p, Meggitt, down 9.8p at 295p, and HSBC, down 12.25p at 384.35p.

However China continues to loom large over the markets as the growing concern about Beijing's looming crackdown on security laws in Hong Kong causes jitters.

A drumbeat of opposition and veiled threats from the US continued to rumble but with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo declaring Hong Kong was no longer autonomous from China. If that stance holds, Hong Kong would no longer benefit from lower tariffs than China's.

The South China Morning Post said China was ready to hit back if the Washington took any punitive actions.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "A US and China flare-up could let some of the air out of the current air of optimism."

Asian stocks and oil prices fell back as a result. Little wonder HSBC and Standard Chartered - closely tied to the region - dropped.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil increased 3.26% to $35.21.

Read more

Boohoo buys PrettyLittleThing outright for £329 million

Bank governor Bailey warns economic recovery will be long and hard

EasyJet to slash staff by 30% as coronavirus takes it toll