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FTSE 100 hits record high as inflationary fears recede

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The FTSE 100 hit a record high of 7926 at the start of trading in London this morning.

After reaching a record peak of 7901.8 last Friday (3 February), the FTSE 100 this morning exceeded that figure to reach 7926. At time of writing, it has fallen back to 7891.

Stocks have soared amid investor hopes that global inflation may be peaking and that the UK economy might be able to ward off a recession. Calming noises from the US Federal Reserve have helped strengthen the numbers.

AJ Bell investment director, Russ Mould, acknowledged that the news out of the US had helped the market but also had a warning about upcoming inflation figures.

He said: “Overnight, the Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell had just the soothing message the market was looking for.

“Concerns that last Friday’s bumper jobs report would see the Fed react to what it perceived as an overheating labour market were eased, with Powell’s relatively relaxed response possibly reflecting the seasonal anomalies which often affect the January numbers.

“Whether Powell will remain so relaxed if the next set of payroll figures are similarly elevated is open to question and investors will be keeping a close eye on next week’s US inflation figures for January. If there is any sign of a renewed uptick in prices, then the market would likely respond very negatively.

“For now, the positive sentiment has allowed the FTSE 100 to reach new sunny uplands, hitting a fresh all-time high.”

BP and Glencore ‘lead the charge’ on the FTSE 100

Meanwhile, Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, picked out a number of companies that were leading the pack.

She said: “The FTSE 100 has hit a fresh record high, surpassing its all-time peak from Friday with BP and Glencore leading the charge while Smurfit Kappa is dragging on the index. Following a wobbly start to the week in which global equities were hit by concerns about a more hawkish path from the Fed after a strong US jobs report as well as heightened US-Sino tensions, the UK large-cap index has restored its bullish momentum.

“Over a one-year period, Pearson is the best performing stock on the FTSE 100 followed by BAE Systems and Antofagasta. Over the past one month, JD Sports is the top performer with IAG and 3i in second and third place.”

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