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ftse-100

FTSE 100 closes higher

It finished the session up 0.3%, or 19 points, at 5,902

The FTSE 100 closed higher but failed to muster the same enthusiasm a divided Congress prompted on Wall Street, as gains were capped by fears about a UK economic downturn.

The main market ended the session up 0.3%, or 19 points, at 5,902 as the knife-edge US election inches closer to declaring the next US president. As the market closed, Biden held 253 of the 538 electoral college votes, versus Trump’s 214, pushing the Democratic contender closer to the winning number of 270.

While Wall Street was buoyed by the idea of a split in government, that would see a Republican Senate block moves by the Biden administration to increase regulation and raise taxes, UK stocks were limited in their celebration.

Rather than focus on the Bank of England’s plan to expand its quantitative easing (QE) programme by £150bn or chancellor Rishi Sunak’s extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed, it concentrated on economic warnings.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said it was ‘odd’ that the FTSE failed to produce more growth, as gains were steady and limited throughout the day.

It seems that the central bank’s warnings on unemployment, the impact of this new lockdown, and the UK’s long-term recovery, combined with a 0.7% increase for [sterling] and notable losses for the likes of Sainsbury’s (SBRY), Rolls-Royce (RR), and BP (BP), all conspired to keep the FTSE at the kid’s table this Thursday, he said.

The FTSE 250 managed to climb higher, ending the day 176 points, 0.99%, higher at 17,972. Trainline (TRN) was the biggest winner of the day, up 12.5%, or 34p, at 307p despite reporting a first half loss as passenger numbers dissolved.