Derek Pain: Santa could have a new high for the Footsie in his sack

No Pain, No Gain

The stock market, as measured by the Footsie share index, could enjoy a strong run in the remaining weeks of this year. Assuming shares again experience the traditional festive upsurge, there seems every chance that a new peak could be achieved.

Mind you, the Santa run is not as powerful as it used to be. In days gone by it was not unusual for the top brass at investment houses to embark on an end-of-the-year holiday, leaving deputies in charge. And, it seemed, the number twos were more inclined to buy rather than sell. I have no reason to believe that the holiday habit has disappeared, but in this all-seeing electronic age exuberance is more easily curbed.

Still, with New York achieving a new high and even with a more restrained Christmas run, a Footsie record is in sight. After all, the US share index surprised many more cautious souls by achieving a record level. The US economy, although improving, is still not in great shape. But the doubters missed the point – stock markets love anticipating developments.

And there are similarities with this country. There is no doubt our financial circumstances are getting better although we still have far to go to get back to happier times. But London investors will not wait for Britain to hit the jackpot; new highs could be achieved at the very prospect of the nation enjoying a greater degree of prosperity.

I recall the Footsie powering to its peak. It was in 1999. Helped by a Santa run, the benchmark closed at 6,930 points, after hitting 6,950 earlier in the day. It was a remarkable year, with the "dotty.com" madness very much the major influence. Several times since then the blue-chip index, featuring the biggest quoted companies, has come near to scaling its old peak. The last time was in May when it topped 6,800.

At the turn of the century some wild and wonderful internet-related stories galvanised the stock market, obliterating commonsense. But once the high-tech boom evaporated, the City was a joyless place and when Iraq was invaded in 2003 the index was 3,287.

There is some evidence of internet fever in the present performance, particularly in New York. It must be hoped that the mad scramble that afflicted the last record-breaking run is a more subdued influence this time round.

This year's more buoyant stock market has attracted an upsurge in new issues. More than 60 companies, including Royal Mail, have had share floats. And others are on their way, including discount retailer Poundland and TSB.

It is probably true to say 2013 is the most cheerful year for the City this century. A rush of takeovers as ambitious executives attempt to take advantage of the more confident atmosphere is the only missing factor.

Some no pain, no gain portfolio constituents are sharing in the fun. Booker, the cash-and-carry chain, has hit new highs. Sohas leisure group Whitbread, which surged at one time to 3,530p – up nearly 150p – after investment house JP Morgan Cazenove lifted its rating to overweight.

But it's not all cheer. I am growing increasingly concerned about insurance group Brightside. Following abortive takeover talks and a far from encouraging trading statement, the shares are almost back to my 18.5p buying price. At the height of the bid negotiations they topped 27p, which more or less coincided with the signalled offer price. But the Brightside trading downturn prompted the bidder, Markerstudy, to instead talk in terms of 20p to 22p.

Markerstudy, a Gibraltar-based insurer, has marginally lifted its stake to 12 per cent since talks terminated. Under City takeover rules it cannot return to the Brightside arena until February.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

    £40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

    Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend