News Column

FTSE extends rally as Hammerson points to UK recovery

February 17, 2014



Britain‘s top shares extended a two-week rally on Monday, with stocks that are sensitive to optimism over the economy receiving a boost from signs of growth both domestically and abroad.

A string of positives from Hammerson’s results helped its shares rise 3.3 per cent to their highest level since 2008, with the shopping centre landlord benefiting from a recovering British economy.

As well as improved earnings and net asset value, the group upped its dividend per share by 8 per cent to 10.8 pence.

The stock was the top riser on the FTSE 100, which was up 78.70, or 1.2 per cent, at 6,742.32 points by early afternoon.

Shares in fellow real estate development trusts, British Land Co. and Land Securities Group, also rose by more than 2 per cent, putting them amongst the top 10 performers in Britain’s leading share index.

“When you look at property, it’s always a great barometer for confidence. When you see the likes of (Hammerson) coming out with good numbers it perks up the whole market,” said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.

No sectors were in negative territory and only ten individual stocks fell.

Volumes were relatively subdued on the FTSE 100, with Wall Street shut for a holiday. Just 60 per cent of the 90 day average volume for the index had been traded with two hours left to go in the session.

Miners rose 1.3 per cent after data showed banks in China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, disbursed more loans than in any month for four years in January, suggesting growth there may not be cooling as much as some fear.

The news was the latest sign of calm in emerging markets, concerns over which knocked 6 per cent off the FTSE at the end of January. The index has rallied 4.5 per cent in the two weeks since the index touched its low for the year so far.

“The diminution in the emerging market turmoil is probably the main driver, (and there is) a slight sense of risk-on,” said Charles Stanley analyst Jeremy Batstone-Carr, referring to the outperformance of growth-sensitive stocks.

So-called cyclical stocks in the basic materials, financial and energy sectors, which tend to rise with optimism over the economy, combined to add 34 points to the index.

Strength in the miners helped the FTSE outperform the German DAX and French CAC, which traded roughly flat.

The sector is up 7.6 per cent so far in 2014, having fallen 16.4 per cent last year.

“I’m interested in the rally we’re seeing in materials companies, which are one of the better performing sectors of the year, having been the worst, globally, last year,” said Mike Ingram, analyst at BGC Partners.

“The market has brushed off any concerns that there had been over growth … but there are concerns remaining over structural overcapacity, as well as how sustainable any demand recovery will turn out to be.”

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Source: Cyprus Mail


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