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Tuesday 17 September 2019

FTSE 100 hits record high as trade war fears ease

London’s blue-chip index broke above 7,800 points for the first time.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.3pc for its third straight week of losses (PA)
The FTSE 100 closed down 0.3pc for its third straight week of losses (PA)

By Helen Cahill, Press Association City Reporter and Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

The FTSE 100 hit a record high on Monday as fears of a trade war between the US and China dissipated and the pound continued its downward trajectory.

London’s top flight closed above 7,800 points for the first time as markets were buoyed by news overnight that the global superpowers put a hold on imposing punitive import tariffs on each others’ goods.

The index closed up 80.38 points, or 1.03%, at 7,859.17, adding £20.7 billion to the UK market.

Among the biggest risers were 3i Group, Astrazeneca, Marks & Spencer and Burberry.

The soaring FTSE, however, came at the expense of a fall in the pound, which was trading 0.42% down at 1.341 US dollars.

Against the euro, sterling was down 0.13% at 1.141 euros.

Evraz, British American Tobacco and MicroFocus were among the few stocks trading in negative territory.

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, said: “It was the weakness in the British pound on top of general optimism about the receding prospect of a US-trade war that helped the FTSE 100 reach a new record high.

“The gains were broad-based with shares of 3i leading the charge while gold-miners were among only a handful of shares that lost value as the price of gold dropped.”

The Cac 40 in France also made gains, rising 0.51%, while the Dax in Germany fell 0.28%.

In oil markets, Brent crude was up 0.52% at 78.980 US dollars per barrel, as concerns over supply levels remain after the US left the Iran nuclear deal.

Ryanair warned on Monday the rising oil price could take the gloss off its performance over the next 12 months, having booked a solid increase in full-year profits.

The budget carrier saw a 10% rise in post-tax profit to 1.45 billion euros (£1.26 billion) in the 12 months to March 31, while revenue jumped 8% to 7.15 billion euros (£6.25 billion).

Passenger numbers jumped 9% to 130.3 million on the back of falling average air fares, which were down 3% to 39.40 euros.

Ryanair has warned about rising oil prices (PA)

Barclay’s shares edged upwards after it emerged the bank it would not face charges relating to its emergency fundraising from Qatar at the height of the financial crisis.

The Serious Fraud Office had sought to prosecute the lender for two offences of conspiring to commit fraud by false representations regarding advisory services agreements with Qatar Holding in 2008.

However, Southwark Crown Court in London dismissed the charges on Monday. Barclays’ shares climbed 0.67% or 1.4p to 208.9p.

Sky’s shares ended the session higher after the government said it will not refer Comcast’s £22 billion bid for Sky to competition authorities, raising the possibility of 21st Century Fox’s rival offer being sidelined.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said that while he had the powers to intervene in the media merger, he did not believe the deal would raise public interest concerns. Sky’s shares rose 9p to 1,364p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were 3i Group up 37.5p to 1,026.5p, Burberry up 68p to 2,000p, Sainsbury up 10.7p to 316.2p and AstraZeneca up 176p to 5,417p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz down 18.5p to 483.7p, Micro Focus down 21p to 1,342p, Randgold Resources down 76p to 5,738p and British American Tobacco down 35.5p to 3,764.5p.

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