FTSE 100 sets record for third day... but only just!
A LATE surge saw the FTSE 100 close at a record high for the third day in a row.
The index finished just 0.07pc or 4.85 points higher at 7429.81 as sterling weakened following news that Article 50 would be triggered at the end of the month.
Dixons Carphone was the biggest riser, up 2.6pc, or 7.9p, to 309.6p while insures Direct Line and Admiral both rose 1.7pc. Primark-owner Associated Brit
ish Foods also performed strongly, thanks to a positive rating by analysts at Goldman Sachs.
The company, which is also responsible for brands such as Kingsmill bread and Twinings tea, soared 1.6pc, or 43p, to 2659p after analysts raised their price target to 3000p from 2750p, saying strong growth at its Primark stores should drive profits.
However, other fashion brands were not so lucky.
Online retailer Asos dipped after Goldman analysts downgraded its shares to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ despite a strong share price performance. Shares have risen
13.9pc since being added to Goldman’s ‘buy’ list in November 2016 but the firm said the retailer, which has a strong foothold in the UK, still has space to grow in less mature markets. Shares fell 0.6pc, or 38p, to 5886p.
Nostrum Oil & Gas plunged 5.8pc, or 27.3p, to 442.6p after a High Court injunction blocked its chairman from dealing with his shares in the company.
Frank Monstrey, chairman of the oil and gas exploration firm, has been stopped from voting and exercising his rights through his Claremont Holdings vehicles.
Claremont has a 13pc stake in Nostrum & Gas.
According to Claremont, the court order is in relation to ongo- ing proceedings at the High Court brought by Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank against its former chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, who is accused of embezzlement.
However, Claremont said neither Claremont Holdings Ltd nor Claremont Holding CV are defendants in the proceedings and no substantive claim has been made against them.
Ablyazov fled Kazakhstan to the UK and was granted political asylum in 2011 after the Kazakh government acquired a stake in the bank in 2009. He is accused of stealing pension assets and personal savings of citizens as well as loans received from foreign financial institutions, and is fighting extradition to Russia.
It is unclear how the High Court ruling links to Claremont, but both Claremont Holdings Ltd and Claremont Holdings CV said they will apply to the court as soon as possible to have the order discharged.
Things are looking up for Russian steel producer Evraz.
The metal maker, which is part owned by billionaire Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, has been upgraded from ‘neutral’ to a high-risk ‘buy’ by analysts at Citigroup who believe demand for Russian long steel exports will pick up off the back of rising prices in China.
As Evraz is operating under capacity, it is expected to enjoy a sizeable volume rise of 0.5m tons in 2017 as global markets tighten in reaction to China, while its coking coal arm should get a boost as Russian prices catch up with the rest of the world. Shares leapt 6pc, or 13.1p, to 231.5p.
Chemical company Elementis edged up slightly after it revealed it has sold its struggling US colourants business. The firm said it decided to sell the division – to US firm Chromaflo for an undisclosed sum – and close its production facility in New Jersey after reviewing its product portfolio. Shares were up 0.6pc, or 1.8p, to 290.1p.
Brick maker Michelmersh soared after posting steady fullyear results and doubling its dividend. Shares in the firm rose 6.6pc, or 3.75p, to 61p.