Augmented by a rally in insurance stock like Aviva on getting positive results from the sector, the top share index of Britain touched record highs on Thursday again. The FTSE 100, the blue chip, index rose by 0.6% to 6961.14 points only a shade below the record set only this month with 6974.26 points.
As per traders, European equities could get positive support from European Central Bank(ESB) that confirmed the start of bond-buying programme to augment the economy of the region. The equities were further supported by the Bank of England which kept rate of interest at record low. Richard Griffiths, Berkeley Futures’ associate director, expected FTSE 100 to go past 7000, thus creating a new record. Aviva, with an increase of 7.1%, one among the top gainers in FTSE 100, contributed the most in the record setting of FTSE 100. Richard Hunter, Hargreaves Lansdowne stockbrokers’ head of equities, told about Aviva that the results had been pleasing overall, and contrary to the problems during the recent years such as the financial crisis, and the resultant cut in dividend in 2013. Sector peer Friends Life also showed a growth of 7.1% after a 38 % increase in the pre-tax operating profit. Shares of ITV increased by 2.8% after Goldman Sachs, Berenberg, HSBC, Nomura and Exane, and J P Morgan increased their price targets of the stock.
However, selling pressure was faced by miners after China, being the biggest metal consumer of the world reduced its economic growth target to around 7% for 2015 below the goal of 7.5% during 2014.