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London close: Footsie hits another record, but BoE comments limit gains

(Sharecast News) - A weak performance from the heavyweight mining sector wasn't enough to stop the FTSE 100 from reaching a new record high on Tuesday, as London's blue-chip index rose for the fifth straight day. The Footsie gained 0.3% to set a new closing high of 8,046.14 but finished below an intraday peak of 8,076.52. The index had reached a fresh closing high of 8,023.87 on Monday, which topped the previous peak of 8,012.53 set in February 2023, after four consecutive days in positive territory.

UK stocks have been lifted in recent days by easing fears over conflict between Israel and Iran, along with a falling GBP-USD rate on hopes that the Bank of England will soon start to cut interest rates as inflation begins to drop sharply; just as projections for rate cuts by the Federal Reserve continue to be pushed back which has supported the dollar.

"After yesterday's strong session the FTSE 100 might have been forgiven for running into some early selling," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. "But the index was able to hit a new peak before succumbing to some profit-taking in the afternoon session, though it remains up on the day overall."

Limiting gains, however, were afternoon comments made by the Bank of England's chief economist, Huw Pill, who said that rate cuts were still "some way off", causing the pound to bounce back slightly after recent weakness, rising 0.7% against the dollar to 1.2432. In a speech at the London campus of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Pill warned there are greater risks associated with easing too early should inflation persist rather than easing too late if it abates.

In other news, traders were looking over to Wall Street as the first of the Magnificent Seven tech group reports its earnings later on Tuesday. Tesla will release its figures after the closing bell, but a number of other economic bellwethers were also reporting results on Tuesday, including American blue chips GE Aerospace, General Motors, UPS, Spotify, Visa and Lockheed Martin.

Economic data comes in strong, mostly

UK government borrowing overshot forecasts in March, producing a budget deficit that was £6.6bn higher than expected. Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, came in at £12bn in March, the Office for National Statistics said. This was above expectations of around £10bn.

The HCOB Flash composite PMI for the eurozone beat forecasts as continued strength in the services sectors outweighed weakness in manufacturing. The eurozone PMI rose to 51.4 in April from 50.3 in March, beating the 50.8 forecast.

The scenario was similar in the UK, where the S&P Global/CIPS composite PMI rose to 54 in April from 52.8 in March - marking the strongest growth in business activity since May 2023 - as a result of stronger-than-expected growth in services.

In the US, the S&P Global composite PMI fell to 50.9 in April from 52.1 the month before, indicating the lowest rate of expansion in activity for five months.

AB Foods and JD Sports jump

Leading the risers on the top-tier index was Primark owner Associated British Foods, surging 9% after posting a 37% jump in interim profit as it lifted its full-year earnings outlook. Looking ahead, AB Foods said it was on track to deliver "significant" growth in both profitability and cash generation ahead of expectations at the start of this financial year.

JD Sports Fashion was also riser up 4% after announcing it was buying retailer Hibbett for $1.08bn. Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Nasdaq-listed Hibbett has 1,169 stores in 36 states across the US trading under the Hibbett and City Gear fascias.

Mining stocks were dominating the fallers lists on Tuesday as a strengthening dollar eroded commodity prices. Fresnillo, Antofagasta, Anglo American and Rio Tinto were among the worst performers on the FTSE 100, while Endeavour Mining, Hochschild Mining and Centamin fell on the FTSE 250.

However, iron ore developer Ferrexpo was bucking the trend by jumping 9% - bouncing back following a big share-price fall over the last month - after a first-quarter production report showed a 203% in total output.

Alternative investdments trust Petershill Partners was also a high riser, surging 11% after proposing a tender offer of up to $100m at a 15% premium to Monday's closing price.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 8,046.14 0.28% FTSE 250 (MCX) 19,783.72 0.94% techMARK (TASX) 4,503.72 0.96%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,728.00p 8.86% Ocado Group (OCDO) 380.40p 6.14% JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 122.95p 3.80% Ashtead Group (AHT) 5,724.00p 3.02% Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 263.60p 2.73% Flutter Entertainment (DI) (FLTR) 15,130.00p 2.68% Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 417.20p 2.44% St James's Place (STJ) 444.20p 2.27% Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 695.00p 2.24% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 827.20p 2.04%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Anglo American (AAL) 2,111.00p -2.59% Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 3,466.00p -2.37% Antofagasta (ANTO) 2,149.00p -2.36% Mondi (MNDI) 1,500.00p -1.74% Croda International (CRDA) 4,893.00p -1.61% Glencore (GLEN) 468.50p -1.57% Fresnillo (FRES) 578.50p -1.53% Smith (DS) (SMDS) 349.80p -1.41% Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,317.00p -1.32% Diageo (DGE) 2,822.50p -1.21%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Petershill Partners (PHLL) 206.50p 11.02% Ferrexpo (FXPO) 52.20p 9.13% Trustpilot Group (TRST) 195.00p 6.57% Bank of Georgia Group (BGEO) 5,160.00p 5.41% Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 361.40p 4.81% Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 229.50p 4.79% Carnival (CCL) 1,070.00p 3.73% Jlen Environmental Assets Group Limited NPV (JLEN) 92.10p 3.72% Vistry Group (VTY) 1,162.00p 3.66% PureTech Health (PRTC) 213.00p 3.65%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 75.80p -6.05% Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,680.00p -2.67% Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 2,134.00p -2.38% Hochschild Mining (HOC) 151.40p -2.09% Harbour Energy (HBR) 283.10p -1.84% Wood Group (John) (WG.) 149.40p -1.58% Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 101.00p -1.56% Victrex plc (VCT) 1,256.00p -1.41% BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 561.00p -1.24% Centamin (DI) (CEY) 124.60p -1.11%

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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