FTSE 100 finishes year 22% up
Jan 1 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
INVESTORS reflected on a better year as the decade concluded with the FTSE 100 Index registering its best annual performance since 1997.
A five-day festive rally ended on Wednesday but the Footsie returned to growth yesterday in a shortened trading session to finish 15 points higher at 5412.9.
It meant the Footsie lifted 22% over the year and closed just short of the level seen before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
However, the top flight was still 22% lower than its level at the start of 2000, when the Footsie stood at a record 6930.
In a rollercoaster year, the blue-chip index hit a six-year low in March before measures from governments and central banks helped restore confidence.
London’s decent performance over the year was still overshadowed by the gains seen in Asian markets, with China’s Shanghai Composite Index up almost 80% over the year after falling 65% in 2008. The only underwhelming result came from Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, which added 19%.
Miners were responsible for much of London’s improvement after dollar weakness drove investors towards commodities over the past year. The greenback suffered another poor session with a fall of almost 1% against the pound, although this was distorted by the lack of dealing action.
In thin London trading, housebuilding shares were higher after the Nationwide building society said house prices rose 5.9% in 2009 and by 0.4% in December – the eighth straight month of increases.
This was good news for Taylor Wimpey, which rose 0.7p to 38.9p, while rival Persimmon added 12.4p to 469.5p, Bellway lifted 48p to 818p and Barratt Developments improved 3p to 124p, a gain of 2.5%.
Shares in the sector have risen sharply in the last year after firms completed debt restructuring deals and recovered from last year’s price slumps.
Retailers will be watched closely in the coming days, but the forthcoming updates from the sector failed to harm share prices as Next rose 15p to 2083p, Sainsbury’s lifted 4.7p to 323.5p and Tesco added 5p to 428p.