FTSE 100 hits pandemic highs

The FTSE 100 has hit the highest level since February 2020.

The blue-chip stocks was up to 7242.73 in early trading, driven largely by oil stocks and also banks, airlines, and hospitality.

The biggest risers in oil this morning were BP, which gained 1.7% and Royal Dutch Shell, which was up 1.3%.

Commenting on the news, Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Anyone who gets excited by charts should note that the FTSE 100 has seen a breakout and is now trading at a higher level than any of its closing prices year-to-date.”

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“The best performing stocks on the FTSE 100 this year are gambling group Entain (+84% thanks to takeover interest and strong trading), construction equipment rental business Ashtead (+70%, a benefit of economic growth and a likely beneficiary of plans for big infrastructure spending in the US), and Glencore (+67%, riding high from the surge in commodity prices).

“It is interesting to see markets continue to press ahead despite the whirlwind of pressures from supply chain disruption, higher energy prices, rising wages and the threat of rising interest rates.

“For now, strong results from banks, a decline in new jobless claims and lower than expected producer price inflation all from the US have served to put investors in a more positive mood,” he added.

Analysts also pointed to surprising nature of the economic backdrop for the rise in the FTSE 100 although the index is made up from companies largely earning revenue overseas.

“The FTSE 100 managed to extend its upward move and after closing higher the last 6 sessions has reached the highest level since January 2020. The UK index is up almost 3% since the beginning of October and despite recent supply issues, labour shortages and rising fuel prices, was able to break through previous highs and today reach the highest level in 20 months,” said Walid Koudmani, market analyst at financial brokerage XTB

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