Updates from Apple and John Laing

The FTSE 100 ended 21 points higher on Friday at 6,606, up 0.33%. Vedanta Resources was the biggest climber, up +5.1% to 848p with cruise company Carnival also seeing a robust rise, up 3.3%. to 2389p. BAE Systems saw the biggest tumble, down -4.5% to 422p on the loss of a major Gulf order.

The Dow Jones finished 42 points higher at 16,221, up 0.26%. %VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Before a snapshot overview of the year, we start with news that Apple has agreed a deal - long awaited - with China Mobile to distribute its iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones in China Mobile's retail stores from mid January.

The agreement should accelerate Apple's earnings per share. It's estimated the computer giant could now sell as much as 20m extra iPhones in the next year to the Chinese. China Mobile currently have more than 750m subscribers; the market is growing fast.

"China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world's largest network," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

Next, John Laing Infrastructure Fund says it has completed the acquisition of its remaining stakes in three assets from Bouygues UK, resulting in 100% ownership. Initial stakes in the assets were acquired as part of JLIF's £123 million portfolio acquisition from Investors in the Community LLC.

The Lambeth and Redcar & Cleveland Street Lighting projects, in each of which JLIF has acquired an additional 15% interest, have seen the replacement of more than 23,000 lighting columns.

"This represents," says David Marshall from John Laing Capital Management, Fund Manager to JLIF, "another example of JLIF's ability to efficiently add value by acquiring stakes in existing assets, in this case as a result of the successful acquisition of a portfolio of assets from IIC in August this year."

Looking at 2013 overall, the one FTSE 100 company that took flight this year was IAG, holding company for BA and Iberia. It commenced the year at under 200p before hitting more than 390p in recent weeks. At the time of going to press, IAG shares were selling at 394.3p.

Another strong riser was easyJet, hitting 1500p recently; this was from January's low base of 794p. The year wasn't so good for commodities: ex FTSE 100 miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation was the most visible loser, after being ejected from the index in September.

Gold investors have also lost out, by some margin. From the precious metal selling at around $1,700 an ounce at the start of 2013 to less than $1,250 in the run-up to Christmas. Some analysts are predicting further falls for the metal.

But the FTSE 100 index saw a strong return to form during the year, up 9% on the year as a whole. With interest rates still dismal, there's still considerable enthusiasm for equities as the economy pulls away from recession.

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