Tuesday City brief: FTSE100 hits record high; Persimmon; Drax
The FTSE100 soared to a record high today, surpassing the previous peak set on the last trading day of 1999. Agreement on the renegotiated Greek bail out and comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen on interest rates propelled the benchmark index to 6,958.89 before it closed 0.5% higher at 6,949.63 against the intraday 6,950.6 and 6,930.2 close on 30 December 1999.
Traders said it will provide a “:psychological boost to the market” and push it through 7,000.
The FTSE 100 is up nearly 6% this year and the market capitalisation of its constituents is now about £1.9 trillion, compared with £164 billion in December 1985, the first available data.
The broader market was also helped by comments from MstYellen, who said it would be several months before the Fed expects to raise interest ratres.
BHP Billiton impressed with its annual results, while investors were less impressed with Meggitt, Persimmon and GKN.
Shares in Just Retirement surged 18.59% to 170.3p in early trade as total annuity sales fell less than expected. The shares closed up 15.81% at 166.3p.
PERSIMMON: The housebuilder is bringing forward a third special dividend of 95p per share from July to April which will make a total return of 240p in two years. Company says forward sale book is 5% ahead of last year. Underlying operating profits for the year up 44% to £475m.
DRAX: Shareholders will receive a proposed final dividend of 7.2p per share (2013: 8.9p) in line with policy to distribute 50% of underlying earnings. Makes total for year 11.9p (2013: 17.6p). Ebitda was flat at £229m (2013: £230m) but marginally ahead of expectations.