FTSE 100 seals ninth monthly gain

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the FTSE 100 ended the month on a high note as traders forgot about Italy’s woes and focused on further evidence of economic recovery in the US.

The index added 34.9 points at 6,360.8, finishing up 1.3 per cent for February and extending its longest monthly winning streak since 1997 with nine positives on the trot.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “The afternoon session has seen the FTSE 100 add to its gains, as it leaves the heavy selling of Monday far behind. US GDP for the fourth quarter was revised upwards slightly, although by less than expected, but fortunately both jobless claims and the Chicago PMI painted a rosier picture.”

BA owner International Airlines Group was the day’s high flyer, with shares up nearly 8 per cent as operating losses were less than forecast and analysts backed its attempts to turn its struggling Spanish business around. It soared 17.5p to 239.2p despite hefty one-off losses.

Going in the other direction was miner Kazakhmys, after reporting a fall in profits and a cut dividend accordingly. The shares dropped 58p or 8.6 per cent at 619p even though the results were not unexpected given recent weakness in copper prices.

Royal Bank of Scotland was also on the fallers’ board after it slumped into the red by £5.2 billion in 2012. Although underlying results showed a near doubling in operating profits, shares were down 22.9p or 6.6 per cent to 323.9p as analysts pointed to subdued prospects in the uk and issued a flurry of “sell” notes questioning its ability to meet expectations.

Outsourcing group Capita also saw its shares fall, down 24.5p to 823.5p despite achieving record sales for 2012 of £3.3bn, helped by the award of £4bn of contracts.

NEW YORK: A late dip took Wall Street into mildly negative territory last night, all three major indices giving up earlier modest gains in a low-volume session.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 20.88 points, or 0.15 per cent, to end at 14,054.49 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed down 1.31 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 1,514.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.07 points, or 0.07 per cent, to finish the day at 3,160.19.

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