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London markets end week on high

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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London’s top index outperformed many of its global peers for the first time all week as it prepared for the weekend with a healthy rise.

The FTSE 100 closed the day up 24.51 points or 0.4% to 6,761.47.

The index has not joined its counterparts in Europe and the US as they charged ahead through much of this week.

Even on Monday, when the index added 1.3%, it was still well behind international peers, including the Frankfurt Dax, which has been around all-time highs through the week.

But Friday was very different, with only the Dow Jones in New York, up 0.4% when markets closed in Europe, pulling ahead of the top 100 companies in London.

The Dax lost 0.5%, the Cac in Paris rose 0.2% and the S&P 500 in New York fell by 0.2%.

Much of the market has been focused on the yields paid by government bonds through the week, although the FTSE’s mining companies held it back on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Stock markets have enjoyed a positive run lately, largely due to the hopes in relation to economies loosening their restrictions in the months ahead, also President Biden signed off on the US’s 1.9 trillion dollar (£1.4 billion) stimulus package last night,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

“The prospect of higher growth comes at a cost, the likelihood of higher inflation, and that is pushing up yields.”

It was banks that felt the most benefit from this in London, with Barclays, Natwest and Lloyds all ending in the index’s top 10 best performers.

They rubbed shoulders with Burberry, up 6.9%, which upgraded its financial forecasts based on strong rebounds in Asia.

The FTSE’s rise was aided by a move in the opposite direction by sterling, which lost against both the euro and a strong dollar. By the end of trading in London one pound could buy 1.3916 dollars, a 0.5% decrease, or 1.1645 euros, down 0.3%.

Brent crude oil dipped by less than 0.1% to 69.57 dollars per barrel.

Shares in Berkeley Group were the FTSE 100’s biggest losers. Despite what Mr Madden called a “respectable trading statement,” the housebuilder lost 5.8% by the end of the day. It said that profits will remain flat during this financial year, compared to the year before, but shareholders were clearly hoping for more.

Hammerson, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, topped the FTSE 250, up 7%, even as the commercial landlord revealed that net rental income dropped by nearly half to £158 million last year.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Burberry, up 136.5p to 2123p, Barclays, up 6.34p to 180.6p, M&G, up 6.3p to 225.6p, Kingfisher, up 6p to 300.8p, and Natwest, up 3.75p to 190.65p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Berkeley, down 266p to 4306p, Fresnillo, down 25.8p to 930.8p, Rightmove, down 11.8p to 561.6p, Croda International, down 114p to 6182p, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 20p to 1148p.