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FTSE settles above 5,900 on Greece optimism
Britain’s benchmark index rises on expectations that the indebted nation’s next bailout will be signed on Monday, averting a default.
Investors were soothed by expectations that eurozone finance ministers will grant Greece the next tranche of its bailout on Monday, rescuing the country from a messy default.
The benchmark UK index of blue-chip shares rose 0.33%, or 20 points, to 5,905 and the Mid-250 index added 0.97%, or 109 points, to 11,312.
Markets closed the week slightly ahead as the FTSE 100 strengthened 53 points, or 0.9%, and the FTSE 250 rose 144 points, or 1.3%, since Monday.
Irish building materials group and newcomer to the FTSE 100 CHR (CHR.L) jumped up 67p, or 5.3%, to £13.43 to top the index, ahead of its full-year results on February 28. See the FTSE’s performance and index’s top winners and losers.
Bailout decision due on Monday
Yusuf Heusen, sales trader at IG Index, said: ‘It seems remarkable, but markets still seem willing to believe in the possibility of a reasonable outcome to the Greek tragedy, even when all the missed deadlines and failed reforms are taken into account.
‘Enthusiasm is most abundant in European markets, with the gains getting progressively smaller as we go west around the globe.’
Stock markets in Europe were also reassured ahead of Monday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers: Germany’s DAX surged on 1.27% to 6,837, France's CAC 40 index advanced 1.35% to 3,438, and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares strengthened 0.56% to 1,083.
In the US the core consumer price index (CPI) rose from 0.1% to 0.2% in January, indicating a slight rise in inflation. The core index has risen 2.3% in the past year, the biggest increase in three years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average took on 0.22% to 11,888; the Standard & Poor's 500 index was flat, down 0.03% to 1,358; and the Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.37% to 2,949.
Sterling added 0.13% against the dollar to $1.581, and lost 0.02% against the euro to €1.2024.
Weir rises on bid for FLSmidth
Weir Group (WEIR.L), a member of Citywire Top Stocks®, added 82p, or 4.2% to hit £20.51 as the engineer issued $1 billion of unsecured bonds to cover its recent acquisitions and placed a bid for Danish rival FLSmidth. Afren (AFRE.L) jumped 6.3p, or 5%, to 131.6p.
Bowleven (BLVN.L) skipped ahead 46p, or 62.2%, to 120p as Dragon Oil announced it was consider placing a takeover bid for the company.
Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail (HOME.L) strengthened 6.3p, or 6.1%, to 109p as analysts at Société Générale upgraded its target price from 115p, to 120p but downgraded the stock from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’.
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