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No fireworks as FTSE 100 closes year lower

London Stock ExchangeThere was a distinct lack of fireworks as London ended the year looking for direction and somewhat disappointingly after it began with a strong bull run that pushed the FTSE100 to a record high.

On 27 April it closed at 7,103.98. The index has lost 4.7% of its value this year and 12% since that record high.

Investment guru Warren Buffett is headed for his worst year relative to the rest of the US stock market since 2009, with shares in his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway down 11% at the beginning of this week.

Shanghai stocks ended 2015 up nearly 10%, beating Wall Street, the FTSE and most other major markets, and in spite of turbulence in Asia.

The Shanghai Composite Index ended today’s session 0.9% lower at 3,539.18 points, while China’s blue-chip CSI300 index also declined 0.9% to 3,731.00.

For the year, the Shanghai gauge advanced 9.4%. The S&P 500 index is up just 0.2%.

London closed early today, while the US will have a full day of trading. Germany, France and Japan are closed for the whole day. The US will release jobless figures expected to show 273,000 claims for the week to 26 December.

Meanwhile, oil prices remained in focus with no likelihood of an early change to the current world glut. There is no expectation of an uplift until the third quarter.

On the corporate front, Sports Direct rebounded from a fall earlier in the session after saying that it will pay its staff more than the national minimum wage, which will cost the company about £10m for the year.

Ocado continued to fall on news that Amazon was expanding its UK grocery delivery service.

Vodafone rallied on reports that it was in talks about a merger with US-listed cable company Liberty Global.

The FTSE100 closed down 0.41% or 25.53 points at 6,248.52.


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