Market Report: Footsie ends year with a bang


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The Independent Online

The Footsie is ending the year with a bang. Last week saw the biggest five-day sell- off on the index in a year and a half, but yesterday it celebrated its largest weekly rise in two years.

Volatility is back. The FTSE 100 closed  79.27 points higher at 6,545.27 yesterday, leaving it almost 4 per cent higher than seven days earlier. A stronger performance has not been seen since the “Santa rally” of 2011.

The City attributed the performance to the closing out of positions before the Christmas break and a rally for oil prices. Tullow Oil was the day’s top performer, up 27.2p at 424.2p.

Tesco was close behind, up 9.6p at 185.4p, with traders putting the rise down to an end-of-year bounce after a torrid 12 months. There is also chatter that it could be close to naming its new chairman.

Next was among the losers, off 65p at 6,495p, after Jefferies called the top for the retail giant. The broker thinks Next is failing to keep pace with changes in online retailing.

The medical and security scanner maker Smiths Group fell 14p to 1,072p on news that chief executive Philip Bowman is leaving at the end of next year.

RSA climbed 5.6p to 449.6p as it wrapped up an eventful year by selling a small stake in Thai insurer Syn Mun Kong for around £36m. The deal came as Panmure Gordon’s influential analyst Barrie Cornes slapped a sell sign on the insurer, saying: “We believe that the share price will continue to tread water for quite some time and that the 2014 year-end results will not look pretty.”

Estate agent owner LSL tumbled 20p to 272p as it admitted that a £25m hole has been blown in its profits by a deluge of claims from banks that it overvalued homes prior to the recession. The finance director is leaving with immediate effect.

Retail investor favourite Fitbug rocketed 2.37p to 9.37p  on AIM after the company, which makes fitness monitoring gadgets, announced that Amazon, Best Buy and Target have all agreed to stock its products.

Interactive whiteboard maker Promethean World  said delays to big orders mean revenues and earnings for the year are set to be lower than forecast. The shares fell 1.12p to 21.75p.