Market Report: S&P poised for record close above 5,000 in Wall Street boom
The S&P 500 last night was on track to close above 5,000 for the first time as Wall Street continues its record start to the year.
The index – which includes the largest American companies, from Microsoft and Apple to General Electric and Coca-Cola – has risen for five weeks in a row.
The latest rise came after revised December inflation numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics were lower than first reported.
Optimism about artificial intelligence and hopes that the Federal Reserve will start cutting interest rates sent stocks on Wall Street higher.
In London, the FTSE 100 index fell 0.3 percent, or 22.9 points, to 7,572.58 points, and the FTSE 250 index fell 0.2 percent, or 40.40 points, to 19,062.32.
Boom: Optimism about artificial intelligence and hopes that the Fed will start cutting interest rates sent stocks on Wall Street higher
London hosted its biggest flotation this year as the BAE Systems-backed airline made its stock market debut.
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana has priced its shares at $9.50 per share in a move that values the company at £672m. But shares fell to $9 in a weak first trading session. BAE shares rose 1.2 per cent, or 14.5 pence, to 1,209.5 pence.
It comes as London struggles to attract blockbuster listings after Cambridge-based Arm chose New York last year. The arm rose about 60 percent on Thursday after a slew of results. Shares rose 0.5 percent yesterday, and are still priced at nearly $110, more than double their listing price of $51.
Air Astana, which has listed its shares in London and Kazakhstan, has a fleet of 50 aircraft and carries about 8 million passengers every year. Before the flotation, BAE owned 49 percent of the group while the rest was controlled by Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund. Britain’s largest defense group owns a 15.3 percent stake after selling 21.7 million shares for 163 million pounds sterling. Peter Foster, President and CEO of Air Astana, said the listing “created an ideal platform to raise capital while allowing local citizens and international investors to participate in our success story.”
The Swiss watch company’s chairman, Ian Carter, has bought £200,000 worth of shares in Rolex. The stock rose 5.8 percent, or 21.4 pence, to 393.8 pence.
Developer Bellway hailed signs of recovery in the property market as lower mortgage rates have led to increased demand for new homes.
The housebuilder reported a 30 per cent drop in revenue to £1.25bn for the six months to the end of January after it sold 4,092 new homes – down 1,603 on the same period the previous year. The average selling price also fell by almost 2.5 per cent to £309,300. Shares rose 1.4 per cent, or 38p, to 2,848p.
There was good news for Bitcoin as the world’s largest cryptocurrency reached $47,000 – a level not seen since March 2022 – as investors renewed their appetite for risk following the recent sell-off.
Returning to the stock market, Direct Line said new president Adam Winslow will take over as CEO next month.
He was appointed in August after leading the group’s general insurance business in the UK and Ireland since May 2021. Shares fell 0.7 per cent, or 1.1 pence, to 161.7 pence. DS Smith extended its gains a day after the paper and packaging company said it had been approached by rival Mondi about a potential merger.
DS Smith shares rose 2.5 per cent, or 7.6p, to 316.2p. Mundi shares fell 0.6 per cent, or 8 pence, to 1,344 pence
Shares of Digital 9 Infrastructure fell by nearly a quarter on Thursday after the data center and wireless networking investor said the sale of its prized assets would be investigated by the Icelandic antitrust watchdog. It expects the £465m sale of its Verne Global business to Ardian France SA, agreed last November, to be approved in March. But the investigation means it may take longer. The stock fell 0.8 per cent, or 0.14 pence, to 17.56 pence.
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