The UK’s top flight share index, the FTSE 100, has crossed the 8,000 points barrier for the first time.
It was less than a fortnight ago that the collective market value of its 100 constituents exceeded the previous record high – seen all the way back in May 2018.
The intraday record of 8,003 was achieved with less than an hour of Wednesday’s trading to go.
The footsie, as it is known, later slipped slightly to close the session 44 points up at 7,997.
Milestones for points, such as 8,000, are often seen as a psychological barrier – a hurdle – for investors to get over.
The FTSE 100 is now more than 7% up on the start of the year and has outperformed many global competitors over the past 12 months despite only adding 0.9% of value during 2022 after a dire two previous years.
US stock markets, in sharp contrast, had grown fat on the hunger for tech, so-called growth stocks, during the pandemic.
Surging inflation later forced investors to baulk at the prospect of a global economic slowdown, with the S&P500 falling by 20% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq losing a third of its value last year.
Its performance is all important, not only to direct investors, but to anyone with a pension as most funds are obliged to hold FTSE 100 stocks in their portfolios.
Stock markets globally have been sensitive to rising interest rates because of the additional borrowing costs they bring.
But hopes that central bank rate hikes may soon have peaked as inflation eases have pushed up demand for equities despite particular jitters over the next moves by the US Federal Reserve.
In the case of the FTSE 100, its exposure to traditional mining, energy and financial stocks – all of which see some benefit to their earnings in times of elevated inflation – has helped it avert some of the recent volatility.
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Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that renewed optimism that inflation has peaked helped drive optimism in London on Wednesday but cautioned that further shocks, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and COVID, remained a big risk.
She added: “The recent momentum has been astounding in its speed, and highlights that the outlook for UK plc has turned a corner.
“Fundamentally though, sentiment could shift quickly depending on the outcome of central bank decisions.
“The likely outlook for now shows a relatively clear path back to more normal fiscal environments, but as the last few years have shown, destabilising obstacles can appear with very little notice.”