London Report: FTSE nears record 7,000 level after USA jobs surprise

LONDON’s top share index yester­day edged ever-closer to breaking its 1999 record – and the 7,000 point mark – after fresh batch of strong US jobs data and supportive rhetoric from the European Central Bank.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 closed 48.84 points higher, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,865.21, taking its gain since the start of July to 1.8 per cent.

This is less than 0.5 per cent away from FTSE’s peak of 6,950.60, set in late 1999.

US employment growth jumped in June and the jobless rate closed in on a six-year low, bringing decisive evidence the world’s largest economy was moving forward at a brisk clip and building on strong private-sector data. And investors were encouraged when European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi reiterated that the bank stood ready to create money in future if required.

Sports Direct was the biggest riser in the leading index after shareholders approved the controversial bonus plan for founder and deputy executive chairman Mike Ashley. Its shares ended 5.63 per cent higher at 769p.