News Column

Hammerson top FTSE riser after positive results

February 18, 2014

BRITAIN'S top shares extended a two-week rally yesterday, 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 3.1 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 72.38 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,736.00 at the close.

Shares in fellow real estate groups, British Land Company and Land Securities Group, also rose, by 2.3 per cent and 1.9 per cent respectively, putting them amongst the top performers in the FTSE 100.

"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 10 individual stocks fell.

Volumes were relatively subdued on the FTSE 100, with Wall Street shut for a holiday, with volumes coming in below the 90 day average.

Miners rose 1.5 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.

So-called cyclical stocks in the basic materials, financial and energy sectors, which tend to rise with optimism over the economy, combined to add over 32 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 7.8 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.

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Source: City A.M. (UK)

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