Market Report: It is hard to imagine what could prevent a test of the Footsie all-time highs


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The Independent Online

Mergers and takeover excitement on Wall Street pushed stocks up stateside helping the Footsie to a 14‑year high yesterday.

After a broadly flat market for most of the day in the UK, a rising Dow Jones index helped London to a late surge and the FTSE 100 recorded a 27.8 points rise to 6,865.86 – smashing last May’s high, the most recent since the dotcom crash.

The Footsie’s record high of 6930.2 was reached back in 30 December 1999. The December 1999 intra-day record was 6950.6.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “A late rally in the US gave London stocks a late lift. It is hard to imagine what could prevent a test of 6950 and the all-time highs given the current resilience of all markets to disappointing economic and earnings data.”

When Vodafone is popular among punters the entire Footsie soars, and yesterday a new share issue and chatter about it becoming a takeover target again helped the telephone group up more than 4 per cent. Every penny rise in Vodafone’s share price equates to a 3-point movement in the blue chip index, and yesterday more than 305 million shares changed hands.

Vodafone shareholders were issued with Verizon shares on Friday, and new Vodafone shares yesterday, after a consolidation of six-for-11 shares following Vodafone’s sell-off of its Verizon joint venture stake. It was up 9.9p at 252.3p.

The FTSE 100 could have been even further ahead if the likes of HSBC had not dragged it down. The bank missed City forecasts and lost 18.5p to 635.7p.

Investors anticipating a dividend halt and rights issue at RSA Insurance caused a 3.7p fall to 97.5p.

Estate agent portal Rightmove was hit by a downbeat note from Canaccord Genuity, which worried about potential competition from Agents’ Mutual. Rightmove slumped 94p to 2660p.

United Carpets’ shares hit their highest levels in more than four years after the carpet retailer revealed better-than-expected second-half trading and it gained 2.63p to 9.5p.

Aim-listed Gulf Keystone Petroleum spurted up 4.5p to 156.25p after its long-awaited move to the Main Market was confirmed for 24 March.