January 13, 2017 / 10:23 AM / 8 months ago

FTSE hits record highs, extends historic winning streak

A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - FTSE 100 index reached record highs on Friday, extending its historic winning streak to a 14th straight day of gains.

The index’s longest winning run since its inception in 1984 has also been notable for the relatively modest daily gains. After touching an all-time record high of 7,338.49 points, it ended the session at a record closing level of 7,337.81 points, up 0.6 percent.

“There are people who want to say this is the moment it’s going to turn around, but each day they get proven wrong,” IG market analyst Josh Mahony said.

He added that a likely further devaluation of the pound in the next months would support the index higher. “But the gains are not exuberant.”

Brokers pushed broadcaster ITV (ITV.L) towards the top of the FTSE. Goldman Sachs added the stock to its conviction list, saying it is a likely M&A target. The broadcaster was also one of JPMorgan’s top picks in the European media sector.

House-builders also helped the FTSE rally, with house improvement company Kingfisher marking its best daily gain since September. Barratt Development (BDEV.L) led sectoral gains. Persimmon (PSN.L) and Taylor Wimpey (TW.L) also gained 1.4 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

“If you want to sleep at night, you’d probably buy a Persimmon or Taylor Wimpey. If you want a bit more rock and roll, you might buy a Redrow or a Bovis [Homes],” Jefferies analyst Anthony Coding said.

Pharmaceuticals were buoying the index, rebounding after being weighed down on Thursday by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of high drug prices, and after a meeting of executives of companies including Britain’s Shire (SHP.L) to discuss caps on price increases.

Shares in Shire were up 2.3 percent, and peers AstraZeneca (AZN.L) and Hikma (HIK.L) also gained, up 2 and 1.2 percent.

Rolls Royce (RR.L) dragged on the index, down more than 2 percent, while precious metals miners Randgold Resources (RRS.L) and Polymetal International (POLYP.L) Fresnillo lost around 1.4 percent, tracking the price of gold, which was down from a 7-week high.

Building materials supplier SIG surged to the top of the mid-cap index .FTMC, up 16.1 percent after it reported higher full-year sales. Its shares marked their biggest one-day gain since March 2009. Blue chip Travis Perkins (TPK.L) was up 3 percent, and peer Grafton (GFTU_u.L) also gained 8.4 percent.

Reporting by Kit Rees and Helen Reid; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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