Markets: IAG helps push market to fresh high

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British Airways owner IAG flew to the top of the FTSE 100 risers’ board yesterday on reports that it had reached an agreement in a long-running dispute with Spanish unions.

The shares were 4.3 per cent higher at 211.8p as investors had been concerned over the threat of strikes at Iberia, the former Spanish flag carrier that merged with BA in 2011.

In the wider market, positive housing and jobs data in the US helped the Footsie pull out of a morning dive to hit a fresh four-and-a-half-year high, up 28.4 points to 6,132.4.

Angus Campbell, head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: “It looks like the ‘great rotation’ out of bonds into equities being bandied around at the moment is in full flow as equities have defied the bears once again. The prospect for global growth continues to look pretty bright making cyclical stocks attractive even if they have already had a strong start to the year.”

In a busy reporting day for retailers Associated British Foods set the pace for the sector in the top tier with a gain of more than 3 per cent. Shares added 50p to 1,606p, after it reported an “outstanding” performance at its Primark fashion chain.

Outside the top flight, Mother­care slipped 4.25p to 308.5p after it posted a slide in UK sales over the festive season, marking a reversal of the small recovery seen in the previous quarter.

Mining giant Rio Tinto was among blue-chip fallers after chief executive Tom Albanese stepped down as the group announced a near £9 billion charge related to two major acquisitions. Shares dropped 18.5p to 3,439.5p.

On the Alternative Investment Market, shares in Glasgow-based IT company Iomart added more than 5 per cent to 230.25p among strong buying from institutional investors – one trade was worth nearly ­ £1 million.

In New York, the Dow Jones closed up at 1,3596.02, ahead 84.79 points on yesterday. Among the fallers was Boeing, still reeling from the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It was down 1 per cent early doors, after falling 3 per cent Wednesday. Banks were pressured, with Bank of America 3 per cent down after a trading update.