London’s FTSE 100 rose above the 7,000-mark today for the first time since Covid pummelled financial markets last year.
Across the Atlantic, Wall Street again hit new record highs on the back of a bumper set of earnigns from America’s banking giants.
Speedy vaccine rollouts and government policy support has lifted investor confidence about a stronger economic re-opening.
The blue-chip index climbed 0.4 per cent, with heavyweight banking, energy and mining stocks gaining between 0.3 and 1.1 per cent.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said it was a “massive milestone” for the index.
“The market was understandably shocked as the coronavirus gripped the world but in true investor style it has quickly focused on the future and the ability for corporate earnings to recover”, he added.
Globally, sentiment was also bolstered after a batch of Chinese and US economic data helped investors price in a solid Covid recovery.
Meanwhile, the mid-cap FTSE 250 edged up by 0.3 per cent as it soared to a record high. It continues a hot streak for the junior market, which has now gained 26 per cent in the last six months.
The morning’s biggest winner was mining firm BHP, who rose 4.4 per cent, closely followed by credit checker Experian, up by 2.8 per cent.
BT Group and pest control firm Rentokil also rose 2.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.
Aveva was the morning’s biggest faller, dropping by 2.3 per cent, followed by Next’s 1.5 per cent hit.
Meanwhile, Rightmove and Hikma Pharmaceuticals both dipped by 0.8 and 0.6 per cent respectively.
On Wall Street
In the US, it was a case of another day, another record high, as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones pushed up 0.2 and 0.4 per cent respectively.
The hikes came after a week in which the Big Apple’s banking behemoths registered a stunning series of earnings reports.
Rounding out a full house today was Morgan Stanley, which reported a 150 per cent hike jump in profit despite losing $1bn from the collapse of private fund Archegos.
However, the tech-heavy Nasdaq did not follow its fellow markets higher, instead slipping 0.2 per cent.
Overnight data from the US was also upbeat, with retail sales rebounding by almost 10 per cent in March, pushing the level of sales 17.1 per cent above its pre-pandemic level.
Around the world
Elsewhere, global stocks hovered near record highs on Friday after strong US and Chinese economic data cemented expectations of a solid recovery from the Covid-induced slump.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose by 0.25 per cent, while Shanghai stocks shot up 0.8 per cent.
China’s economy grew by the fastest rate in its history in the first quarter of 2021 as GDP grew 18.3 per cent and left last year’s lockdowns behind.
Meanwhile, European shares inched higher, with Euro Stoxx futures up 0.4 per cent.