Markets: FTSE enjoys best January since 1989

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London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index enjoyed its best January for 24 years despite ending the month with a disappointing session.

The top flight has risen by more than 6 per cent – or 379 points – since the start of the year, making it the best January performance since 1989 and the third best in the history of the index.

But there have been signs that the new year rally is fizzling out, with the FTSE 100 down 46.2 points at 6,276.9 as it succumbed to a bout of profit taking yesterday.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis, Capital Spreads, said: “Some very mediocre corporate earnings from the higher risk stocks such as some of the European banks and oil giants weighed on their respective sectors. This gave investors enough of an excuse to bank recent gains and just take the sting out of the tail of the recent rally.”

AstraZeneca was the biggest faller after the drugs giant warned that the impact of lost patents will continue to depress revenues this year. Shares were off 99.5p to 3,053p after chief executive Pascal Soriot also reported a 38 per cent drop in pre-tax profits for 2012.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell was another faller, off 68p to 2,294p, after its fourth-quarter figures disappointed analysts. Satellite broadcaster BSkyB made better progress, up 7.5p to 817.5p after reporting an 8 per cent rise in operating profits in the six months to December.

Drinks giant Diageo also received a results-day boost after operating profits of just over 
£2 billion came in slightly ahead of City forecasts. Emerging markets continued to perform strongly and robust sales in North America also helped its revenues performance. Shares were 24p higher at 1,877p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street ended lower last night after a mixed bag of economic data gave more reasons for investors to be cautious ahead of the all-important US jobs report due today.

The Dow Jones industrial 
average dropped 45.62 points, or 0.33 per cent, to close at 13,864.80 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 3.69 points, or 0.25 per cent, to end on 1,498.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished the day down just 0.18 point, or 0.01 per cent, at 3,142.13.