LONDON -- The FTSE 100
Well, he did, and the ECB is now set to buy up potentially unlimited amounts of government bonds from troubled EU members. That gave the index a big boost, and it ended the week at 5,795 points, 83 points (1.5%) up on last week's close of 5,711.
But which individual companies made the news? We take a quick look.
The U.K. housebuilding sector is in a bit of an upswing at the moment, and Barratt Developments was one of the week's big winners, climbing by 19 pence (13%) over the week, ahead of full-year results due next Wednesday.
And the results should be good. July's pre-close update told us to expect pre-tax profit to be up by 150% over last year to around 100 million pounds, after the company completed 12,637 housing units and grew revenue by 14% to 2.3 billion pounds.
The big FTSE 100 miners have been sliding all year, mainly because of the Chinese economic slowdown and fears of a resulting slump in demand for the treasures of the earth.
But this week saw a big rise in all of the big blue-chip miners, coming immediately after the ECB announcement, so the hoped-for new euro stability seems to have settled the market a little. Anglo American led the way, with a price rise of 222 pence (13%) to 1,972 pence. We could be past the bottom for miners.
Phoenix IT Group
There weren't any really big fallers in the FTSE 100, but small cap Phoenix IT Group slumped by 60 pence (29%) to 151 pence after revealing accounting irregularities.
It appears that in one of the company's divisions, "control processes within the finance function" had been "repeatedly and deliberately circumvented." The result is likely to be a reduction in net assets of 14 million pounds and a hit to full-year earnings. And someone got fired.
May Gurney Integrated Services, the recycling and road repair company listed on the Alternative Investment Market, shocked the market with a profit warning this week. The price responded by crashing 50% to 114 pence, making it the week's biggest faller.
A number of problems will apparently lead the firm to "significantly under-perform" previous expectations, and there is going to be a one-off exceptional charge of 10 million pounds ($16 million). Chief executive Philip Fellowes-Prynne has left the company, by mutual consent.
As usual, this week's FTSE trading provided some large share-price movements -- and perhaps some buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has spent more than $1 billion buying the shares of one of the U.K.'s most successful FTSE large caps.
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