Market Report: FTSE 100 comes close to celebrating a 15-year high


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The Independent Online

Uncertainty abounds, but you wouldn’t know by looking at the Footsie.

Despite weak oil and commodity prices and a warning from George Osborne that Greece poses “the biggest risk to the global economy”, the FTSE 100 came within spitting distance of celebrating a fresh 15-year high yesterday. Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Markets have flung caution to the wind and rallied impressively. The bounce in oil… has certainly helped, but it is Greece that is the source of real optimism. A switch to a more conciliatory tone on the part of the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister has raised hopes that a deal may be possible.”

The FTSE 100 rose 89.25 points to 6,871.8, just below the 6,878.49 reached in May last year, the highest since the millennium.

The mining sector was buoyed by Australia cutting interest rates to a record low. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto climbed 74.5p to 1,558.5p and 115p to 3,076p respectively.

The best individual performer on the blue-chip index was Intertek, climbing 149p to 2,429p on news that it had snapped up Australia’s Adelaide Inspection Services for A$12m (£6.15m). 

An upgrade from Nomura, coupled with the rallying oil price, set oil services company Hunting up to be one of the day’s best performers. It rose 60.3p to 478.7p, with some in the City suggesting bid speculation was also behind the performance.

Afren continued to surge higher on the back of Friday’s deadline extension for debt repayments. Punters are hoping that the extension means a sale of the business to Nigeria’s Seplat could still be on, with talks ongoing. Their optimism comes despite reservations from Barclays. The bank thinks the current oil price means Afren, up 1.84p at 11.84p, will be forced to plough all of its cash into debt payments.

Deutsche Bank was obviously impressed by Israeli spread betting firm Plus500’s ability to weather the Swiss franc storm that hit currency markets last month. The investment bank revealed itself on the company’s share register yesterday, taking a 5.38 per cent chunk of Plus500, up 5p at 560p.