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London stocks rally as optimism grips City

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The LONDON stock market benefited from its third consecutive day of gains, as vaccine deployments, better-than-expected economic figures and good employment statistics boosted investors.

The FTSE 100 has passed 6,900 and could cross the psychologically important 7,000 mark in a matter of days, analysts say, as a mood of optimism grips a still nearly deserted city.

Today, the first index rose 20 points to 6,905, from 5,580 last October.

The 1,300-point increase is roughly equivalent to £ 325 billion in added value to major stocks, held by foreign and domestic investors, including most pension funds.

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A KPMG report said there was a “substantial increase in recruiting activity” in March as “improved market confidence” led to increases in vacancies and starting salaries. for new jobs.

Amid previous discussions that interest rates may soon rise – leading to a shift from stocks to bonds – US officials have dismissed the likelihood.

The IMF has joined other voices in predicting a stronger rebound for the economies of the UK and US than experts had previously predicted.

Today, the latest statistics show a sharp increase in construction activity. The latest PMI figures – a measure of activity – fell from 53.3 in February to 61.7 in March. It’s a six-year high.

Gareth Belsham of real estate consultancy Naismiths said: “The rebound turns into a boom. The omens for February were good, as new orders began to flow. But March was the month when construction really took off – and production is now booming across all sectors of the industry. “

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He added: “In response to growing demand, construction companies are equipping themselves – hiring people and buying materials – and the pace of job creation is now faster than it has been for more. two years. “

The FTSE 250, home to more UK-focused stocks than the larger FTSE 100, hit a record high yesterday. Today it was stable at 22,160.

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