FTSE 100 latest: Lacklustre London casts envious glances as Japan and US markets soar

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Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s prime minister, has said he will not run for re-election as party leader (AP)
Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s prime minister, has said he will not run for re-election as party leader (AP)

Traders left frustrated by London’s lacklustre performance on Friday cast envious glances overseas after Wall Street broke more records and Japanese stocks soared on the surprise exit of the country’s prime minister.

The Nikkei 225 jumped more than 2% after hopes for another round of stimulus behind Japan’s economy were raised by Yoshihide Suga saying he will not contest next month’s election for party leader, despite only taking over from Shinzo Abe last year.

Suga’s popularity has dived over the pace of the vaccine rollout and decision to host the Olympic Games.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “The market’s reaction to his announcement would suggest investors are optimistic that the country will find a stronger leader.”

Mining, healthcare, property and technology stocks all pushed forward on the main Japanese index, while London investors benefited through gains of about 1% for the Baillie Gifford Japan Trust and the FTSE All Share-listed Fidelity Japan Trust.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq inched up last night to new records, whereas London’s top index continued its sideways moves.

The FTSE 100 index was today 10.55 points higher at 7,174.45 ahead of the latest US job report, which may help US policymakers decide when to begin tapering economic support.

London’s lack of recent volatility was highlighted yesterday when financial betting company CMC Markets issued a profit warning due to weaker levels of trading. CMC’s shares tumbled 27% yesterday and were down another 3% or 8.5p to 296.5p today..

The FTSE 250 index rose 11.42 points to 24,237, with electronic components business discoverIE the clear leader after it raised a bigger-than-expected £55 million from investors.

Peel Hunt placed the new shares at 1,028p, but they were up 13% as investors digested the successful fundraising alongside news of deals worth £77 million for companies in the US and UK.

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