Market Report: Super Mario has delivered for investors


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The Independent Online

Super Mario has delivered for investors. The European Central Bank’s blockbuster bond-buying programme, announced by its President, Mario Draghi, on Thursday, helped spur the Footsie to its best week in three years –a rise of 4.3 per cent.

The FTSE 100’s run of gains went into its sixth day yesterday with a climb of 36.2 points to 6,832.83. But with Greeks going to the polls on Sunday, uncertainty looms and the index looks unlikely to extend the run into next week.

Associated British Foods was among the blue-chip index’s best performers, up 95p at 3,080p. Traders pinned the rise on solid results from Premier Foods, 3.5p better at 40.25p, with hopes that ABF brands such as Ryvita and Kingsmill have fared as well as Premier products like Mr Kipling and Bisto.

Miners held the FTSE back due to the continuing bleak outlook for commodity prices. Glencore was the biggest straggler, down 15.4p at 249.4p after a downgrade from JP Morgan. The bank reckons the commodity trader will have to cut spending and sell off assets to maintain its credit rating.

An upgrade from Numis helped spur Balfour Beatty 11.4p higher to 227p. The broker believes the results of KPMG’s review, released in summary on Thursday, should help “draw a line under” the builder’s problems.

The North Sea oil and gas explorer EnQuest surprised the market with its update. Cuts to spending are deeper than forecast, production targets for the year are higher than predicted and the company has successfully renegotiated its banking covenants. Short-sellers had bet against the company in the face of falling oil prices, and the rush to cover positions sent EnQuest surging 7p to 37p.

There are fears, though, that smaller energy players will not have it so easy, with analysts expressing fears about the likes of Xcite Energy, off 1.5p at 31.75p, and Hurricane Energy, up 0.5p at 14.5p. Fears of a contraction in the Scottish oil industry also hit Flybe, as HSBC warned that the regional airline could see a slowdown in traffic to Aberdeen. That, coupled with greater competition at London City airport, condemned Flybe to a 10.5p fall to 90p.