Climbing 0.6%, the FTSE 100 found its way back above 6,755 after the bell. The index spent the final week or so of March repeatedly hitting its head on 6,775 before retreating, even with the confidence boost of Monday’s re-opening.
“The biggest contributors to the FTSE 100 in index point terms were miners Glencore and Rio Tinto as plays on stronger commodities demand and positive read-across from US President Joe Biden’s plan to invest heavily in infrastructure,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
““In backing these companies, investors are effectively looking past any short-term noise and potential setbacks to getting the pandemic under control, and instead looking well into the future and taking the view that earnings will not just start to recover in 2021 but also keep improving thereafter,” Mould added.
Despite the Dow Jones failing to finish March at an all-time high, the European indices had a spring in their step on the first day of April.
“Though the DAX was only slightly ahead of the FTSE with a 0.6% increase, given their relative levels that means something very different for the German index. It is now at a fresh record peak of 15,090 and will be keen to stretch its neck to 15,100 before the day is over,” Campbell added.
FTSE 100 Top Movers
Melrose (4.54%), IAG (3.56%) and Aveva Group (3.32%) were the top risers on the FTSE 100 during the morning session on Thursday.
Phoenix Group Holdings (-2.47%), Smith & Nephew (-0.94%) and AstraZeneca (-0.92%) have not fared so well, seeing the biggest falls so far.
Next navigated the coronavirus pandemic by growing the scope of its online business which accounted for nearly 50% of the company’s revenue.
The fashion retailer confirmed that its online sales have exceed estimates during the first eight weeks of the year, up 60% compared to two years ago. Subsequently the FTSE 100 company is raising its profit guidance by £30m to £700m.
“That its pre-tax profit was still so strong is to be applauded. The high street staple has been able to shield itself from the full impact of lockdown thanks to its online store, with Lord Wolfson also pointing out the fortune of its strongest growth areas being those with a low return rate,” Campbell said.
“Adding an extra layer of shine to the FTSE 100’s open, Next itself rose 2.8% to a 2 and a half month high of £80.86 per share.”