Footsie falls marginally short of record session

 

A supercharged performance by Wall Street overnight, a batch of highly encouraging company results from three of the FTSE 100's leading stocks and talk of more takeovers in the pipeline drove London's equity market close to record intra-day and closing highs yesterday.

But the British market's benchmark index faltered on the brink of both records, as Wall Street ran into a flurry of profit taking after some rather sharp comments on US stock price valuations by Mr Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, during his bi-annual Humphrey Hawkins testimony to the US Senate's banking committee.

At the close of a tense session, the FTSE 100 was 85.3 higher at 6,155.2. At its best the index came within 10.4 of its previous intra-day record of 6,195.6, which it reached on January 8th this year. Its previous closing high was 6,179.0, attained on July 20th last year.

London's other equity market indices remained in positive ground, but looked slightly vulnerable as the session wore on. The FTSE 250 ended the day a net 5.7 ahead at 5,186.4, having hit a day's high of 5,205.

Similarly, the FTSE SmallCap made good progress, hitting a session best of 2,265.1, before easing back to close the day a net 7.8 firmer at 2,263.4.