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Britain's FTSE 100 blue-chip stock index hits record high

Tue, 23rd Apr 2024 08:26

LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index hit a record high on Tuesday, following last week's sharp selloff, as fears of the Middle East crisis escalating eased and investors looked ahead to top U.S. earnings later in the week.

The index rose to 8,071.96 shortly after the open, surpassing a previous all-time high hit in February 2023. It was last up 0.6%.

Europe's broad STOXX 600 index, as well as major share benchmarks from the United States to Japan , have already set new records this year.

The new peak brings this year's gains for the UK's top equity benchmark index to 4.4%, lagging behind the STOXX 600 which has gained 5.4%.

"London has been given a good kicking over the last couple of years, it has been on the backfoot when you compare it to other global markets, particularly when you compare it to the U.S.," said Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

"So I think breaking a record will be psychologically important for investors and for London markets as a whole."

Oil major Shell, the index's biggest company by market value, is up 13% this year, while top gainer Antofagasta is up more than 29%.

Other top performers include banks Natwest and Barclays, engine maker Rolls-Royce and defence firm BAE Systems, all up by between 17% and 37%. (Reporting by Lucy Raitano; Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan and Joice Alves in London; editing by Amanda Cooper and Jason Neely)

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