Daily Mail

Footsie heads towards 7000 in boost for savers

- By Francesca Washtell

STOCK markets all over the world smashed records yesterday as the Covid rebound picked up speed.

London’s FTSE 250, Europe’s Stoxx600 and the Dow Jones and S&P 500 on Wall Street hit all-time highs. And the FTSE 100 inched closer to 7000 as it finished at its highest level since last February.

The rally will be a boost for savers and pensioners – as many retirement pots and savings accounts are linked to the performanc­e of the stock market.

It points to the confidence traders feel about the prospects about the global economy now that vaccine rollouts are gaining speed and industries put on hold during the worst of the Covid crisis are able to restart.

Markets went into freefall last February as the scale of the pandemic became clear – with major indexes racking up the biggest falls seen since the financial crisis.

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: ‘Records have been breaking all over US and UK financial markets today. Buoyed by higher than expects retail sales last month and lower than expected jobless claims over the last week, the Dow Jones topped 34,000 points for the first time. In the UK, recovery propelled the FTSE 250 to another record high.’

Housebuild­er Countrysid­e Properties (up 5.1pc, or 26p, to 541p), Trainline ( up 3.5pc, or 16.6p, to 489.8p) and Royal Mail (up 2.6pc, or 13p, to 515.4p) were among companies providing the biggest boost.

Although the Footsie finished at 6983.5 points – a rise of 0.6pc, or 43.92 points – Hewson said positive economic data from China expected today ‘could finally seal the deal’ and push the index over 7000. It would still be a way off last year’s peak of 7869 and its all-time high of 7877, which it reached in 2018. The FTSE 250 closed up 0.5pc, or 116.59 points, at 22,472.04, while the pan-European Stoxx 600 hit a high of 438.29.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 were trading 0.8pc and 1pc higher respective­ly.

The gains clocked up by London’s two major indexes were all the more impressive given that there were some heavy falls among stocks that went ex-dividend.

This means that those buying shares after that date will not be entitled to a company’s next scheduled dividend. This date often hits a firm’s share price.

On the Footsie, big-name fund managers tumbled with Legal & General dropping 0.7pc, or 1.96p, to 276.1p and Standard Life Aberdeen sliding 2.2pc, or 6.5p, to 285p.

Another asset manager, Jupiter Fund Management, also fell, shedding 4pc, or 11.4p, to 276.8p, while Onesavings­bank- owner OSB Group lost 4.5pc, or 22.4p, to 471.8p. AO World, on the other hand, was on the up after revealing in a trading statement that UK sales surged by 88pc during the most recent lockdown, which is its final quarter of the financial year.

The online electrical retailer said group revenue had risen 62pc to £1.7bn over the past year, as Britons cooped up at home upgraded their homes and flocked to buy bread makers during the first lockdown when sourdough baking became all the rage. Shares rose 1.9pc, or 6p, to 323.6p.

Wizz Air also made gains – even though it said it expects to rack up an annual loss of up to £512m.

The Hungarian budget airline (up 0.8pc, or 41p, to 4906p) also warned that it only expects a slow and sluggish recovery in flying in the late summer, pouring cold water on the idea that government travel restrictio­ns will enable a quick return to overseas holidays.

This is a different stance taken by Easyjet (up 1.2pc, or 12p, to 990p), which said on Wednesday it believes Britons will be able to travel to almost all major European countries within the next couple of months.

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