US down, UK up as FTSE 100 strikes new all-time high

By Trevor Hoey. Published at May 15, 2017, in Features

After trading in a fairly tight range for most of the week between approximately 20,800 points and 21,000 points, the Dow finished at the midpoint of that range at 20,896 points. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 claimed a new all-time high, closing up 0.7% at 7435 points, equating to a week on week increase of 2%.

This came on the back of commentary from the Bank of England which indicated there was no risk of near-term rate rises.

In a week where there was limited market moving news flow, Friday wasn’t an ideal finish with President Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Corney creating negative sentiment, and from a macro perspective retail sales disappointed, as did the CPI numbers which came in below expectations.

The NASDAQ only made a minor gain of five points to close at 6121 points.

It was a different story in Europe with both the UK and major European mainland indices gaining significant ground.

In terms of stock specific moves, the star performer was AstraZeneca plc as it gained more than 9% after the company announced positive trial results for stage III lung cancer patients being treated with its Imfinzi drug.

The initial trial results mean the drug is the first Immuno-Oncology (IO) medicine to show superior progression free survival in a trial setting.

The DAX rallied on the back of positive macro data which featured robust GDP growth. The 0.5% increase in the index saw it close at 12,770 points, just shy of the record all-time high of 12,783 points struck earlier in the week.

The Paris CAC 40 recovered most of its loss ground after dipping on Thursday, closing at 5405 points, representing a gain of 0.4%.

On the commodities front, oil was relatively flat, closing just shy of the US$48 per barrel mark. However, it finished the session on a strong note rallying circa 1% in the afternoon session.

Gold continues to hover in the vicinity of US$1225 per ounce, and gained 0.3% to finish just above that level.

There was a solid rally in the iron ore price as it increased approximately 1.7% to US$61.38 per tonne.

Base metals were mixed with nickel flat, copper up slightly, and lead and zinc falling 2.4% and 1.5% respectively.

The fall in the zinc price takes it back to a three-week low of US$1.15 per pound. The situation with lead is similar as it sits marginally above its three-week low.

The Australian dollar strengthened on Friday, briefly pushing above the US$0.74 level before closing at US$0.738.

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