The index of Britain’s leading shares came close to its all-time high after Ukraine announced a ceasefire with Russia and a survey showed business booming in the UK’s dominant services sector.
The FTSE 100 rose to 6,898.62, its highest for more than 14 years and not far short of its record intraday peak of 6,950, reached in December 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom.
In late morning trading on Wednesday, the market pared some of its gains but the index was still up 0.77% at 6,881.45. Shares rose after Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, said the country had signed a permanent truce with Russia in eastern Ukraine.
There was more good news as growth in Britain’s services sector accelerated to a 10-month high in August, according to the Markit/Cips purchasing managers index.
The top FTSE 100 riser was International Airlines Group, parent company of British Airways, up 2.9%. EasyJet was also in the top 10 gainers, rising 1.8%. Weir Group, the engineer, was the second-biggest gainer, up 2.8%. Ashtead, the industrial equipment hire business, rose 2.4% after it said booming construction sectors in the US and UK would send annual profit above expectations.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said relief at the news from Ukraine could be fleeting and that even if the market did hit a new high it might not last. “We’ve been here before,” he said. “There’s still a significant amount of distance to travel to a lasting peace.”
He said the FTSE 100 had traded within a range of 6,600 to 6,900 this year, and that there was “more downside risk than upside risk” because although the UK and US economies were performing well Europe was still “a significant headwind”.
via The Guardian
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