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FTSE hits highest level since before Covid crash

·3-min read

The FTSE 100 has returned to its highest point since the start of a Covid-19 crash that wiped hundreds of billions of pounds off the index last year.

The market ticked back up to 7,172.48 after gaining another 25.8 points on Tuesday, a 0.4% rise.

It means that the index is currently at its highest closing point since February 21 2020, the last day before the storm caused by Covid.

The next trading day, February 24, saw what was at the time the biggest fall the index had seen in more than four years.

Around £62 billion was wiped off the index that one day as the virus made itself at home in Italy – sparking the first major outbreak outside of China.

By the end of that week the index had lost 13%, it still has not fully recovered, but this Tuesday reached its highest point since the 7,403 close before the pandemic gripped markets.

The rise came despite a hit to the UK reopening plans, which were put off by around four weeks on Monday.

“It’s been another positive day for markets in Europe today with the FTSE100 eking out a new 16-month high, however the FTSE250 has lagged behind somewhat, in the aftermath of yesterday’s confirmation of an extension of restrictions to July 19,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

In the US, markets were in the red. The S&P 500 dropped 0.3% while the Dow Jones was trading down 0.5% as European traders were logging off.

Sterling was flat, and at the end of the day one pound would buy 1.4087 dollars or 1.1616 euros.

On the continent, both French and German investors were positive. The Dax in Frankfurt and the Paris Cac both gained 0.4%

Boohoo shareholders were not treated to the forecast upgrade that often accompanies the retailer’s updates, but they cheered on anyway sending sarees up 1.1%. The online retailer revealed a 32% rise in sales to £486 million, led by a jump of around half in the UK.

There was less to cheer for at On the Beach, whose customers will need to largely stay off beaches until September because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

The business reported a £9.5 million pre-tax loss for the half year, compared to a £2.3 million profit a year earlier. Revenue plummeted 77%.

The price of Brent crude oil rose 1.1% to 73.66 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were ABF, up 75p at 2,367p; BT Group, up 5.5p at 197.35p; Royal Dutch Shell B, up 32.6p at 1,426.2p; Spirax-Sarco, up 275p at 13,470p; and Smith Group, up 33p at 1,635p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Antofagasta, down 63.5p at 1,468.5p; Intermediate Capital Group, down 87p at 2,253p; Anglo American, down 113.5p at 2,999p; Fresnillo, down 23.8p at 838p; and Flutter, down 345p at 13,335p.

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