The US stock market continued to charge ahead on its longest-ever bull run, stealing the limelight from the UK’s FTSE 100 yesterday.
The S&P 500 index, which is made up of 500 heavyweight US companies, has been generally on the rise for 3,453 days, having risen from the ashes of the financial crisis in March 2009.
This takes the record from the previous record rally which lasted from October 1990 until the bursting of the tech bubble in March 2000. A bull run is loosely defined as a period in which share prices keep rising without a slump of 20 per cent or more.
Charging ahead: The US stock market has had its longest-ever bull run
Tom Stevenson, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said investors need not worry that the lengthy bull market means a peak in the cycle is any closer.
He added: ‘Bull markets do not die of old age, they die of fright. The length of a bull market is less important than the fundamentals of valuation and investor sentiment. On both counts it is reasonable to expect the US market to continue rising for a while yet.’
Already the index has more than quadrupled in value. But any UK investors who put money into the S&P 500 will be smiling even more, as the pound has since weakened, making their investment more valuable. An investment of £100 in March 2009 would now be worth £455 without dividends, or £555 with dividends reinvested.
The same amount ploughed into the UK’s FTSE All Share index, on the other hand, would be worth £232 with no dividends, or £326 with dividends reinvested.
While all eyes were on the US yesterday, the UK’s blue-chip index made modest gains, rising 0.1 per cent to 7574.24 points.
There were no big swings on the index, in a quiet day for announcements. Grocery deliverer Ocado led the risers, after strong sales data earlier in the week, climbing 1.9 per cent, or 20.5p, to 110p.
FTSE 250-listed Grafton Group, which owns UK DIY and building chains including Leyland SDM and Buildbase, nailed a 2.3 per cent gain as it rose 18p to 794.5p. Adjusted operating profit was up 17 per cent to £92.5million and investors were rewarded with a 6p per share dividend, 14 per cent more than last year.
However it played down future success, saying market conditions are expected to remain relatively flat for the rest of the year. But Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said that was ‘a classic example of under-promising in the hope of over-delivering’.
On London’s junior market, attractions builder Paragon Entertainment fell after results for what chairman Mark Taylor called a ‘very poor’ six months.
In the UK, grocery deliverer Ocado led the risers, after strong sales data earlier in the week
The York-based business revealed revenue had halved to £4million, while it made an underlying loss of £2million compared to a profit of £448,000 last year.
Paragon, which was behind The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism display at the Saatchi Gallery and the Wallace and Gromit Thrillomatic at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, reassured shareholders that its order book was recovering after an ‘industry-wide downturn’ in 2017, and that it should recover in the second half of this year. But shares slid 5.3 per cent, or 0.1p, to 1.8p.
Collagen Solutions on the other hand, which makes collagen for tissue research and anti-ageing skin products, was given a boost as it announced it was in negotiations with distributors in Europe.
Financial performance would be in line with market expectations, it added, which caused shares to lift 12 per cent, or 0.45p, to 4.2p.
Investors in marketing company MediaZest, which received a 12.5 per cent battering after disappointing results last week, pulled some of their losses back as shares rose 11.1 per cent, or 0.02p, to 0.15p.