FTSE 100 ends the week tantalisingly close to 7,000, pushed up by pharma - as housebuilders regain losses

Emma Haslett
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Close, but no cigar: the FTSE 100 rose more than two per cent (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 ended the day at 6,894.6 points - 2.2 per cent higher, and within spitting distance of that 7,000 mark.

The index was pushed up by pharmaceutical and mining stocks, with Hikma Pharmaceuticals leading the pack, jumping 5.2 per cent to 2,185p.

That was followed by Unilever, which rose 3.8 per cent to 3,663p - while GSK rose 3.5 per cent to 1,655p and Mediclinic International rose 3.6 per cent to 1,036p.

Commodities stocks also fared well, with BP rising 2.9 per cent to 431p, while Glencore rose 2.6 per cent to 181.75p and Fresnillo rose three per cent to 1,668p.

2 September 2016 @ 4:30pmFTSE 100 (UKX)

The only drags on the blue chip index were housebuilders, which languished among the few fallers, with Taylor Wimpey dropping 0.7 per cent to 164.5p, Berkeley Group (which will shortly drop out of the FTSE 100 and today suspended construction on one of its projects in London) dropping 0.65 per cent to 2,757p, while Persimmon fell 0.2 per cent to 1,865.5p.

It's worth mentioning, though, that all those stocks partially erased much larger losses from earlier in the day. Barratt even managed to make a small gain.

By far one of today's biggest winners, though, was Go Ahead, the FTSE 250-listed transport group which part-owns the much maligned Southern Rail franchise. Its shares jumped 10.4 per cent to 2,206p after it posted results showing a 27 per cent rise in profits this morning. Good for shareholders, not great for its popularity rating.

Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, put the FTSE 100's strong performance down to today's disappointing US jobs report.

"[The] report chewed up and spat out the idea of a September rate rise, in the process throwing away the increasingly hawkish market expectations that Fed members have nurtured over the past two weeks," he said.

"The post-Brexit period has been characterised by a degree of glee that monetary policy will be easy for the time, with only the increasingly hawkish backdrop cast by the FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee) undermining the outlook.

"That shadow cast by the threat of a US rate hike has been pushed aside for now, giving stock markets the ability to push onwards in response to an easy global monetary policy framework."