FTSE closes at near record high

Small gains follow weak market trading


Markets closed slightly higher yesterday, following weak intraday trade, as a US Federal Reserve official said the central bank should continue its bond-buying to boost growth.
Irish markets were subdued and the Iseq closed slightly down, by 0.8 per cent.

Glanbia fell 1.9 per cent to €10.88. The group announced that group managing director John Moloney will stand down at the end of the year and will be replaced with group finance director Siobhán Talbot.

C&C underperformed as it drifted to lose 1.66 per cent to €4.75 following a strong run.

Kenmare Resources rose 2.78 per cent to 0.37 cents, Bank of Ireland rose 1.66 per cent to 0.18 cents and Smurfit rose 2.33 per cent to €12.72.
Britain’s blue chip share index closed near its highest yesterday, lifted by mining stocks and positive corporate news from luxury retailer Burberry.

The FTSE 100 index ended up 48.24 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,803.87, its highest finish since its record close of 6,950.60 in late 1999.

Recent data suggests the British economy may be picking up. Further upbeat data from Britain and other major economies would help support equity valuations, which have rerated to post-credit crisis highs of about 12.8 times 12-month forward price-to-earnings.

Corporate updates also fuelled further optimism in the market yesterday. Outsourcing company Capita climbed 5.9 per cent after winning a £1.2 billion contract with Telefonica’s UK O2 mobile phone business.

Greencore rose 8.7 per cent as its first-half profits rose 6.3 per cent despite market pressure as a result of the horse meat scandal.

Cruise operator Carnival fell 5.5 per cent after slashing its full-year earnings outlook for the second time in less than three months.

Miners were the top performing sector as Societe Générale’s commodities team said the sell- off in base metals prices had been overdone and Chinese restocking would feed a rally.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1 per cent to 309.99 at the close, having earlier lost as much as 0.7 per cent. The equity benchmark has climbed to the highest level since June 2008 and is on course for a 12th straight month of gains, the longest winning streak since 1997.

National benchmark indexes increased in most western European markets. France’s Cac 40 rose 0.3 per cent and Germany’s Dax advanced 0.2 per cent.

Sonova Holdings , the world’s largest maker of hearing aids, retreated 1.1 per cent to 103.50 Swiss francs after saying profit growth will slow.

Earnings before interest, taxes and acquisition-related amortization and impairments will rise by 9 per cent to 13 per cent in local currencies this fiscal year, compared with a 15 per cent jump in the 12 months ended March, the company said.

United Internet tumbled 7.2 per cent to €21.57 as the German broadband provider reported first-quarter sales of €629.7 million, trailing the average analyst forecast of €635 million. The shares had climbed 23 per cent this quarter before yesterday.
The Standard and Poor’ s 500 Index returned to a record as a Federal Reserve official said bond purchases should continue and Goldman Sachs Group forecast the stock rally will last at least through 2015.

Treasuries rose and the yen pared earlier losses while grains and gold fell.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.4 per cent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 per cent in early trade in New York.

Home Depot jumped 2.5 per cent after raising its earnings forecast. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.5 per cent as Jamie Dimon survived a campaign to split his chairman and chief executive officer titles.

Apple lost 0.6 per cent as the company faced a Senate panel which had released a report saying it used had loopholes to avoid taxes. – (Additional reporting Bloomberg/Reuters)