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April 15, 2015

FTSE 100 ambles to new high

Footsie broke the 7,100 barrier for the first time and though it closed below that level, it still rose enough to set a new closing high.

The FTSE 100 index closed at 7,094, up 18, with sentiment boosted by hopes that the Chinese authorities will wade in to stimulate the economy of the People’s Republic, after economic growth slowed to a six-year low in the first quarter of 2015.

Running was a theme on London’s stock markets today as JD Sports (LON:JD) produced record profits thanks to bumper (literally) sales of bumper boots, branded trainers and running shoes.

Total revenue increased 25% to more than £1.5bn while pre-tax profit jumped 18% to just over £90mln. Peter Cowgill, executive chairman, said the result has been driven by an “outstanding performance in sports fashion.”

Shares rose 5.8% today to 539p, but rival Sports Direct (LON:SPD) also received a bump in its share price, climbing 3.8% to 670p, making it the FTSE 100’s biggest riser.

Dixons Carphone (LON:DC) received a boost after it sold The Phone House Deutschland chain to German mobile phone company Drillisch. Shares rose 2.2% to 446p.

Food packaging specialist Bunzl’s (LON:BNZL) shares eased 2.9% to 1,855p despite overall trading being in line with market expectations.

The company also said it is to acquire a business in Turkey, having completed acquisitions in Canada and the Netherlands.

Fashion firm Burberry (LON:BRBY) moved up 2.6% to 1,830p after a solid second-half trading update, while sector peer Next (LON:NXT) benefited from an upgrade by US broker JP Morgan. Its stock moved to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ and its target price was hiked 600p to 7700p. Shares rose 2.7% to 7,300p.

The biggest gainer of the day was Asia Resource Minerals (LON:ARMS) as shares soared on takeover talk. Shares rocketed up 80% to 27p.

Clutching the wooden spoon was Chinese citrus fruit grower Asian Citrus Holdings (LON:ACHL), down 23.9% at 6.375p, after it said its Xinfeng plantation had been hit by a citrus greening disease.

Also on the slide was DJI Holdings (LON:DJI), which was down 9.7%. The licensed promoter and distributor of Chinese sports and welfare lottery products issued a profit warning, as a result of delays in the recognition of significant fee and bonus revenues.

Investors piled into stockbroker Daniel Stewart (LON:DAN), up more than a third at 1.28p. Earlier this year the shares were suspended, and chairman Peter Shea said today that resolving capital issues had cost it £150,000 and the episode has led to clients delaying business.

Shares rose, however, as the company said it had bagged six new clients in the last seven weeks.

Specialist lender Private & Commercial Finance (LON:PCF) beat profits expectations for the year just ended as bad debts improved. Shares jumped 11.2% to 17.25p. @MasterMetals MasterMetals Blog

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