Markets

FTSE roundup: UK’s blue chip index continues slow climb as sterling slumps

The FTSE 100 has continued the slow climb it began at the beginning of this week, closing today at 7,361.56 points compared to last Friday's 7,264.56.

The blue chip index made gains of 0.44 per cent over the day, buoyed by a weak pound as the Bank of England's Michael Saunders' insistence that he supported an interest rate hike failed to stay the slide which Mark Carney's more doveish comments caused last night.

"GBP/USD is under pressure after Mark Carneys comments last night," explained CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

"In recent months there was a lot of speculation the Bank of England could hike interest rates next month, and in light of Mr Carneys remarks, a rate rise looks less likely now.

Traders are almost evenly divided over whether there will be a rate hike next month. The pound has enjoyed a positive run recently, and we are now seeing some profit-taking.

Tarmac company CRH paved the way for the FTSE 100 risers, as news that it could float its US division caused shares to jump almost four per cent.

Pharma company Shire, meanwhile, looked like it needed a shot in the arm despite receiving a boosted offer from Japan's Takeda, after Allergan rapidly backed out of the short-lived takeover battle.

Reckitt Benckiser was also dragging the FTSE down, as it announced weaker-than-expected revenues.

"First-quarter like-for-like sales rose by two per cent, but analysts were expecting an increase of 2.6 per cent," explained Madden.

There was takeover news elsewhere in the FTSE, as Ion Group made a £1.5bn bid for Fidessa in the final hours before its deadline to squeeze rival Temenos out of the bidding race.

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