Tuesday 26 November 2019 12:01 pm

FTSE 250 hits highest level in 15 months as Conservatives maintain poll lead

The FTSE 250 nudged up 0.2 per cent this morning to 20,740, reaching its highest level since August 2018.

The London index rose on the back of growing investor confidence that the Conservatives will win December’s General Election, after polls showed the party had maintained a healthy lead over Labour.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “The market seems to be growing more confident that the Conservative Party will win the General Election in December, thus bringing some clarity to what might happen with Brexit and – importantly – removing an element of uncertainty which has hung over UK equities for some time.”

Read more: Compass group shares sink as business catering unit is undercooked

Mould added that it was a surprise that the pound had declined 0.2 per cent against the euro and the dollar, given that sterling and the index tend to move in unison.

It was suggested that the slip was a result of an opinion poll by Kantar which showed that support for the Conservatives had slipped, with the party leading Labour by 11 points.

Mould urged caution in the run up to the election, saying: “With just over two weeks to go until the big vote, it is important to remember that markets can see volatile swings on any political updates and so investors will be watching the polls very closely to judge the latest state of affairs.

The FTSE 100 also rose above the 7,400 mark for the first time since the beginning of November, after slipping in early trading.

London’s premier index was at 7,402,85 at 11:45, up about 0.1 per cent.

The bourse shrugged off a poor performance from Compass, the world’s biggest catering company, whose shares fell six per cent, and De La Rue, which saw shares fall to a 19-year low.

FTSE All Share risers

CompanyIncreaseShare price
Pets at Home10.5 per cent237p
Oxford Instruments6.2 per cent1,646p
Restaurant Group6 per cent141.1p
Riverstone5.7 per cent443p
Fresnillo5.4 per cent568.6p

FTSE All Share fallers

CompanyDecreaseShare price
De La Rue22.2 per cent136.4p
Compass Group5.7 per cent1,954p
Dialight5.3 per cent233p
Greencore5.3 per cent235.2p
River and Mercantile Group3.6 per cent240p

Relations between China and the US continue to drive markets, with gains in Asian pushing UK stocks higher in early trading.

Joshua Mahony, senior analyst at IG, said: “Yesterday’s Chinese announcement of new intellectual property guidelines helped instil confidence that they are pushing hard to get a deal across the line.

Read more: Election poll: Labour closing the gap on the Tories

“Meanwhile, a call between the US and China provided a renewed focus on getting that first stage deal across the line, with talks expected to continue.”

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng remained weak amid ongoing volatility after landslide victories for pro-democracy candidates in district council elections over the weekend.