FTSE latest: the UK’s biggest companies lifting markets toward summer high

·2-min read
 (Taylor Wimpey)
(Taylor Wimpey)

Encouraging mid-term reports from Britain’s biggest companies continue to put investors in a relaxed summer mood after the FTSE 100 index made further progress today.

Taylor Wimpey and Legal & General this morning joined the list of blue chips to see their shares surge on the back of half-year earnings figures, while BP added another 1% on top of the 5% rise seen yesterday after its big jump in shareholder returns.

The FTSE 100 index rose 22.06 points to 7,127.82 as the benchmark recovers from its wobble in mid-July to target the 7,217 intraday high set in June, which represented the highest level since the pandemic sell-off in February 2020.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Hitting that level looks possible this summer in the absence of any major negative news to trouble investors.”

He warned there are still reasons for caution, given that many stocks are now on elevated valuations and there’s still the threat of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

China’s toughening regulatory stance is also a worry for investors, although these concerns were put to one side today amid a wider recovery for Asia-focused stocks. Prudential rose 29.5p to 1,407.5p, while Alibaba backed Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust rallied 27p to 1,336.5p at near the top of the FTSE 100 risers board.

One of the biggest falls in the top flight came from Just Eat Takeaway, despite Goldman Sachs reinstating its coverage with a “buy” recommendation. The shares, which have come under pressure recently due to logistics costs and the increasingly competitive landscape, fell by 160p to 6,231p.

The FTSE 250 index climbed 41.96 points to 22,341.51, with digital magazine publisher Future continuing to trade near record levels after its recent run of profit upgrades. Shares in the GoCompare price comparison owner lifted 3% or 104p to 3,556p.

There was also a gain of 10.4p to 379.2p for 888 Holdings during an upbeat session for the gaming sector, with Flutter Entertainment and Entain both 2% stronger in the FTSE 100 index.

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