London’s top index smashed through 7,000 points for the first time in nearly 14 months on Friday as miners and banks led the charge.
Economic data out of China helped boost global markets, with the FTSE 100 ending at 7,019.53, a rise of 36 points, or 0.5%.
“A big rebound in China first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers released this morning, as well as a strong retail sales number, has served to add fuel to the fire of optimism that has coursed through global markets this week, in the wake of yesterday’s bumper US retail sales number,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
The FTSE 100 has not reached above 7,000 points since late February last year, when markets crashed as Covid-19 was beginning to spread in Europe.
The index had been close to 7,700 points at the beginning of 2020, but still has some way to go before regaining those levels.
The US index S&P 500 is already more than 20% ahead of its February 2020 levels, while the Dow Jones, Dax in Frankfurt and Cac in Paris have also overtaken their pre-pandemic scores.
“The UK market has been something of a laggard, compared to international markets on both sides of the Atlantic. But today the FTSE100 has passed a big milestone, rising through 7,000 for the first time since the pandemic sent it tumbling a year ago,” said Steve Clayton at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“Investor confidence in economic recovery is rising as governments roll out stimulus packages, and business confidence surveys are hitting highs.”
In London Friday’s rise was led in part by the biggest miners, who have been winners through much of this week on the back of rising metal prices.
Evraz, Polymetal and Anglo American all registered comfortable growth by the end of the day.
However, banks were also among the biggest winners, with Barclays and NatWest both in the index’s top 10 performers.
“Some more positive numbers for US banks have helped give financials a bit of a leg up, with Barclays leading the banks higher,” Mr Hewson said.
Across the pond, markets were also in the green, with the S&P 500 trading up 0.2% and the Dow Jones on track to rise 0.4% as markets closed in Europe.
The Dax in Germany rose 1.3%, while France’s Cac index was up 0.9%.
The pound rose 0.2% to buy 1.3822 dollars or 1.1537 euros while the price of Brent crude oil dropped 0.3% to hit 66.74 dollars a barrel.
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The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Evraz, up 22.4p to 636.4p, Tesco, up 7.4p to 231.85p, Next, up 224p to 8204p, British American Tobacco, up 79p to 2901p, and BT, up 5.3p to 199.55p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were London Stock Exchange, down 200p to 7700p, Rolls-Royce, down 2.44p to 104.56p, Hikma, down 41p to 2367p, Intermediate Capital Group, down 33p to 2017p, and Barrett Development, down 10.8p to 784p.