FTSE 100 jumps higher to continue recent surge amid weak pound

The FTSE 100 continued its recent surge, jumping higher on the back of weakness in the pound and rises for commodity and banking firms.

London’s top flight closed 75.13 points higher at 7,426.21 at the end of trading on Friday.

The index joined the key European markets in pushing higher amid positivity across almost all sectors, while the US markets were more reticent.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “It’s been a positive end to the week for markets in Europe with the FTSE 100 leading the way, closing at its highest levels since early August, despite a high-profile company collapse (Thomas Cook) and three profit warnings.

“Today’s gains have been helped to some extent by a decent rebound across all sectors, with the best gains coming from housebuilder Persimmon.”

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Though, of course, it helped that its commodity and banking sectors were firmly in the green, it seems only one thing really matters to the FTSE at the moment – watching sterling squirm.”

The value of the pound continued to feel the strain as fears of a general election kept it at three-week and two-week lows against the dollar and euro respectively.

The pound was 0.12% down versus the US dollar at 1.231, and down 0.35% against the euro at 1.125.

Meanwhile, the European markets closed the week in high spirits, pushing higher after reports Germany might be open to boosting public spending and calls for spending by incoming European Commission economic chief Paolo Gentiloni.

The German Dax increased by 0.75% while the French Cac moved 0.36% higher.

The Dow Jones opened marginally lower amid calls for the impeachment of US President Donald Trump over allegedly seeking aid from Ukraine to impact the US 2020 election.

In a fairly quiet day for company news, the FTSE 100’s biggest mover was Persimmon, which jumped higher after a broker upgrade.

Persimmon shares rise
Persimmon Homes saw shares rise following a broker upgrade (PA)

Shares rose after Jefferies said it was upgrading its position on the housebuilder to “buy”, expressing confidence that it can maintain its margins despite cost pressures.

Shares in Persimmon closed 108p higher at 2,175p on Friday.

Elsewhere, Imperial Brands saw its share value continue to falter, a day after it said its sales would be impacted by the US crackdown on flavoured e-cigarettes and tighter regulation on vaping products.

Shares in Imperial tumbled 23.6p to 1,774.6p, after it already suffered a major decline on Thursday.

CVS, one of the UK’s largest vet operators, saw shares jump after it said customers are increasingly willing to spend money on their pets and will continue to do so even if there is an economic downturn.

Shares in the business jumped 72p to 982p at the end of trading.

The price of oil slipped back on reports that Saudi Arabia has agreed a partial ceasefire in Yemen.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil slumped by 1.05% to 61.9 US dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Persimmon, up 108p at 2,175p, Kingfisher, up 7.3p at 208.9p, Next, up 188p at 6,216p, and 3I Group, up 38.5p at 1,184.5p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Fresnillo, down 27.2p at 703p, Polymetal International, down 29.5p at 1,148p, Imperial Brands, down 23.6p at 1,774.6p, and Pearson, down 5.6p at 734.4p.

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