Wed City brief: Budget and Fed push shares higher

Stocks in the energy, financial, housing and consumer sectors were on the march after George Osborne’s budget statement. The positive sentiment pushed the FTSE100 back towards the 7,000 milestone.

The leading index closed up 107.59 points at 6,945.2, to test the record closing high of 6,961.14 on 5 March. It could push to a new high on Thursday after the Federal Reserve said the first rate hike may not take place until September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to close up 227.11 points, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 23.85 and 41.75 points respectively.

Confirmation by chancellor George Osborne of budgetary measures to lower taxes in the struggling North Sea oil industry gave energy producers and services stocks another big lift, including Tullow Oil, Shell and BP.

Plans to launch a new ‘Help to Buy ISA’ to help first-time buyers were also boosting shares of housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments, as well as estate agent Savills.

Shares in pub landlords, brewers and drinks companies made gains after Mr Osborne cut duty on beer by 1p a pint for the third successive time in his budget and the duty on whisky by 2%.

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