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FTSE 100 makes ground amid upbeat mood in markets

FTSE 100 rose by 0.8% to 6,731 as a strong end to the week helped to lift investors’ spirits.

“Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 1.6% and pre-market indicative prices suggesting the core US markets will open 0.4% higher. The key issue is how long markets remain upbeat,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“Miners and oil producers drove the FTSE higher despite growing concerns about parts of the world failing to get Covid under control and what that might mean for economic recovery,” Mould added.

The blockage of the Suez Canal by the Evergreen will be playing on investors’ minds.

“What’s important is how that might affect global trade and the fact it is already causing shipping rates to rise, which in turn could fuel inflation as extra costs are passed on to the consumer,” says Mould.

“This all suggests we remain at a fragile point for markets and one that could lead to heightened volatility.”

FTSE 100 Top Movers

Leading the way on Friday at the top of the FTSE 100 is Smiths Group (5.12%), Antofagasta (4.13%) and Glencore (3.49%).

While at the bottom, Imperial Brands (-1.77%), Burberry (-1.26%) and Ocado (-1.11%) are the day’s biggest fallers so far.

Retail Sales

The retail sector was handed a boost in February as people spent money on garden furniture and improving their homes ahead of the return of outdoor socialising. Retail sales rose by 2.1% last month while the rest of the sector continued to struggle as non-essential stores remained shut. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that despite the recovery, the 8.2% dip in January kept retail sales below the figure of 12 months ago, and said that they would have fallen again if not for online sales at department stores.

Suez Canal

The owner of the cargo ship that has been blocking the Suez Canal since Tuesday has apologised for disrupting global trade, while rescuers confirmed the container ship could block the canal for “weeks”. 

Japanese company, Shoei Kisen Kaisha, said it was striving to resolve the situation, but it was proving to be very difficult.

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