Western Morning News (Saturday)

Five-day streak adds over £90 billion to FTSE in 2021

6,873

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LONDON’S top index came close to breaking its perfect 2021 so far, but notched up a fifth straight day of gains instead yesterday.

The index rose by 16.3 points, or 0.2%, to end the week on 6,873.26.

It was dented by the spread of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, as registered virus deaths hit 1,325 people – the highest number to date.

But that was not enough to take away the positive sentiment that has been seen on London markets all week.

By the close on Friday, the FTSE 100 had gained around 380 points compared to where it started 2021. It adds approximat­ely £97 billion to the companies on the index.

“The declaratio­n of a ‘major incident’ in London contribute­d to the unwinding of the FTSE’s momentum, if not the brunt of its explosive 2021 growth,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Earlier on Friday, US jobs figures had shown a larger-than-expected drop. Around 140,000 jobs were lost in the country last month, compared to the 77,000 that analysts had forecast.

CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: “In recent sessions there has been a lot of chatter that the future Biden administra­tion will provide extra stimulus to the economy.

“The mixed nature of the jobs report hasn’t stoked up calls for extra stimulus but at the same time, the poor top line number suggests the economic rebound is running out of steam and needs assistance.”

The Dow Jones had lost a quarter of a per cent, while the S&P 500 was up 0.1%, shortly after markets closed in Europe.

Across the Channel, France’s Cac and Germany’s Dax closed the day up 0.4% each. The pound gained 0.1% against the dollar and now buys 1.3581 dollars or 1.1082 euros, the latter being a 0.2% rise.

In company news, housebuild­er Barratt Developmen­ts proved one of the best performers of the day after saying it would bring back its dividend next month. Shares rose 4.5%.

Three months with on and off restrictio­ns saw Marks & Spencer’s sales drop by 7.6% it revealed on Friday. Its shares dropped 2.4%.

Having only made revenue of £54 million over three months in the 1,400 pubs where it had notched up more than £1 billion a year earlier was not enough to put investors off Marston’s, whose shares rose 6.7%.

Shares soared 16.5% as Reach, which publishes the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, revealed it will beat its profit targets because of high online revenue in 2020.

And for Pets at Home shareholde­rs it proved a good day as their holdings rose in value by 6.7% after it raised its profit targets for the first time since September.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Hargreaves Lansdown, up 85p to 1655p, Barratt Developmen­ts, up 31p to 720p, Ocado, up 102p to 2481p, Compass Group, up 60p to 1473.5p, and Just Eat Takeaway, up 304p to 8992p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, down 43p to 1204.5p, RollsRoyce, down 3.8p to 107.3p, Polymetal, down 54p to 1770.5p, BT, down 3.85p to 143p, and Sainsbury’s, down 5.7p to 242.8p.

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