FTSE approaches 7,500 but fails to rise

Shares in London’s FTSE index briefly touched 7,500 on Friday but failed to raise enough to cross the line, despite oil and tobacco companies doing their best to help.

By the end of the day, the FTSE 100 had gained just 0.3%, up 20 points to take it to 7,486.67.

The index briefly reached a daytime high of 7,497 as cigarette makers Imperial Brands and British American Tobacco moved hand in hand with BP and Shell at the top of the pack.

“The week seems to be ending with a whimper rather than a bang, with the risk rally on hold for now,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

“The FTSE 100 certainly seems to need something to move forward as the index has barely changed over the past three sessions.

“It now looks vulnerable to at least a short-term decline, but if oil prices can get back to the risky side, at least there’s hope that oil stocks can support the index for now.”

In the US, traders appeared mildly positive about their comeback from Thanksgiving. The S&P 500 had gained 0.1% in Europe by the end of the game and the Dow Jones was up 0.5%.

“The return of US traders has pushed the Dow up while technology stocks fell, but as expected, the session has a very lackluster feel,” said Mr. Beauchamp.

“European equities, too, have struggled to make a serious move in either direction – everyone just seems to want to go into the weekend with no bad surprises.

“Risk assets continue to hold up well, and while seasonality is mostly positive for stocks from now through year-end, it would be nice to have some really good news to base a rally on.”

The German Dax index remained flat while the Cac 40 in Paris gained 0.1%.

The pound lost just 0.1 cents and fell to 1.21 against the dollar.

In company news, energy giant SSE said it would sell a quarter of its electricity transmission networks to one of the world’s largest pension funds.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board pays £1.5 billion for 25% stake in SSEN Transmission.

The company said this deal could “help deliver significant growth” for both SSEN Transmission and SSE overall.

Shares in SSE were hardly affected by the news.
The biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 were Airtel Africa, up 1.7p to 122.3p, Smith & Nephew, up 14.5p to 1,103.5p, Imperial Brands, up 26p to 2,126p, Frasers Group , up from 10p to 888p, and BAE Systems, up from 9p to 806.8p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado Group, down 649.8p to 5,476.31p, United Utilities, down 21.5p to 1,064.5p, Centrica, down 1.88p to 93.94p, Endeavor Mining, down 30p to 1,683p, and RS Group, down 16.5p to 941.5p.

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