LONDON -- In a week when the Federal Reserve didn't announce the dreaded stimulus tapering, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) picked up just 12 points to end Friday at 6,596. Perhaps the markets are finally realising that it's going to happen sooner or later, and there's no point getting stressed about it. The rise, modest though it was, marks the FTSE's third positive week in a row.
There's not been a lot of big company news, and a number of safer shares have benefited by from the upswing in sentiment -- including household-products maker Unilever, whose shares climbed 118 pence (4.8%) to 2,585 pence. Unilever shares have been in a bit of a slump since May, but with forecasts still putting the stock at a forward P/E of a possibly toppy 19, the price might just have been too high, and the correction looks like it was justified. Q3 results are due on Oct. 24.
SABMiller is on the up, too, gaining 141 pence (4.5%) to finish the week at 3,277 pence. SABMiller is the world's second-largest brewer, owning more than 80 beer brands around the globe, including the world's best seller, Snow (China, if you want some.) And it has a unique track record -- SABMiller shares have beaten the FTSE for 12 straight years, and with the price up 14% since the start of 2013, it could be on for a 13th year.
At the other end of the table, Barclays dropped 28 pence (9.2%) to 273 pence after 3.2 billion new shares were admitted, nil paid, to the market on Wednesday. The shares are part of the bank's new issue, which enables those holding the stock at the close of business on Sept. 17 to buy one new share for each four they hold at a price of 185 pence. That's a discount of 40% on Tuesday's close.
A tough year for gold and silver and miner Fresnillo continues, with its stock slumping 165 pence (14%) to 1,033 pence this week. The firm's latest setback comes from the suspension of explosives permits as litigation concerning a land dispute continues. In August, the company reduced its full-year gold production forecast to 465,000 ounces as a result, and this week it reiterated that guidance. The slipping gold price over the past month isn't really helping, either.
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