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FTSE 100 stops shy of 7,000 points in highest close for 14 months

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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The FTSE 100 pushed towards 7,000 points for the first time since early 2020 on Thursday, but narrowly missed out on the prize.

London’s top index closed at its highest point since mid-February last year though it stopped shy of the symbolic mark.

At the end of the day it had 6,983.5 points after hitting an earlier high of 6,994.9.

It was a rise of 43.92, or 0.7%.

The increase was largely thanks to London’s mining giants, with consistently good performances from the sector.

Rio Tinto, Antofagasta and Polymetal all ended the day up by well over 2%.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline however proved more of a race car, closing the day up more than 4.5%.

The company’s share price reacted to reports that Elliott Management had taken a multibillion-pound stake in GSK.

“This activist shareholder has a track record of shaking things up and Glaxo shares have seriously underperformed the wider market for several years,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“Earlier this year they hit their lowest levels in a decade, with the company being increasingly left behind by its peers AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

“The company is in the midst of a restructuring programme with the consumer business set to be split away from the wider pharmaceuticals business, and some shareholders may be starting to get restless.”

Abroad markets were telling a similar story to the FTSE 100. As markets in Europe closed, the Dow Jones looked set for a 0.8% rise. That put it on track to close above 34,000 points for the first time in history.

Its New York peer the S&P 500 was trading up 0.9%, while Germany’s Dax added 0.3% and France’s Cac rose 0.4%.

“Not only did the weekly jobless claims reading fall to 576,000 – the best level since the pandemic struck the States – the US retail sales figures were aggressive in their month-on-month rebound,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

By the end of the trading day in London a pound could buy 1.3779 dollars, unchanged on the day before, or 1.1517 euros, up 0.1%.

Under-pressure shares in Deliveroo fell 3.3% as the company said that growth in the number of takeaways it delivered hit 114% in the three months to March. However, it warned of a deceleration as lockdown eases.

Shares in The Hut Group fell 5.8% after pre-tax loss increased more than tenfold to £534,639 amid the cost of the company’s public floatation.

Naked Wines joined the two in negative territory, with its shares down 1.6% despite revealing a 68% jump in sales in the last financial year as people in lockdown turned to online booze deliveries.

Ladbrokes owner Entain said that it had performed well online in the first three months of the year, with revenue up by 33%. It pushed shares up 1%.

Travis Perkins revealed a more than 17% growth in sales in the opening months of 2021, sending shares up 2.2%.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Smurfitt Kappa, up 161p to 3570p, GlaxoSmithKline, up 58.8p to 1348.4p, Mondi, up 70p to 1942.5p, Kingfisher, up 11.9p to 351.8p, and Antofagasta, up 60.5p to 1863p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Legal & General, down 14.6p to 276.1p, Lloyds, down 1.02p to 42.81p, Standard Life Aberdeen, down 6.5p to 285p, JD Sports, down 19.4p to 911.4p, and Compass Group, down 29.5p to 1573.5p.