LONDON — The FTSE 100 closed at a record high for the fifth session in a row on Wednesday, closing marginally higher despite a dreadful day for the retail sector.
The FTSE 100 closed up 0.14%, or 10.21 points higher, at 7.188.10. It is the second record close this week and extends a winning run that began in the period between Christmas and New Year.
House builders were the strongest performers after better than expected construction PMI figures and an upbeat investment note from Deutsche Bank. Analysts from the investment bank said in a note to clients this morning: “After a tumultuous 2016, we see appealing value in the UK Housebuilder sector.”
Fiona Cincotta, a market analyst at City Index, says in an emailed statement: “UK construction PMI followed in the footsteps of the manufacturing PMI from the previous session and surpassed expectations with a reading of 54.2, the strongest in 11 months. There was plenty to cheer such as stronger demand pattern, job creation and a broad-based upturn in business activity which pushed house building stocks higher.
“However, an increasing cost pressure cannot be ignored, as suppliers pass on higher imported raw material prices following the 15% decline in the value of the pound since the EU referendum.”
Taylor Wimpey closed up 4.1%, Barratt Developments ended the day 3.9% higher, and Persimmon closed up 3.1%.
Meanwhile, retailers were crippled at the other end of the table. Next was the worst hit after a profit warning this morning. The clothing retailer ended the day 14.3% lower than where it started.
Next’s gloomy outlook infected sentiment in the sector, with Marks & Spencer falling just over 6% and Primark owner Associated British Foods falling 3.6%. Dixons Carphone, a High Street retailer although not of clothing, fell 2.8%.
City Index’s Cincotta says: “Retailers set off on the wrong foot following a bleak outlook from Next and disappointing sales for the festive period; the sector failed to turn around throughout the course of the day as fears that more of the same is set to follow as other retailers report throughout the week.”
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