​Construction stocks help FTSE hold steady

<p>​Gains in construction, particularly from Berkeley, prevented a fall in the FTSE.</p>

​The FTSE 100, Britain's major share index, looked likely to fall on Wednesday (June 17th) thanks to negative results from the supermarket sector. However, a positive construction market helped to boost the index back up into holding steady. It eventually ended up being down by just 0.1 per cent, as of 08:13 AM.

The FTSE's level at this time was 6,701.03​ points​. During the previous trading day, it had fallen to a low of 6,656.90 – the worst seen since January – but eventually managed to close even. The outlook for the index is not known, as it depends on the performance of two sectors: construction and groceries.


The construction industry was the big winner on Wednesday, especially Berkeley. The housebuilding firm saw its shares rise by an impressive 7.7 per cent, which provided a significant boost to the entire sector. This increase was caused by the company's announcement of its full-year profits, which were better than most shareholders expected.

Another housebuilding business, Persimmon, managed to rise 1.4 per cent on the index. Persimmon shares have grown steadily since the general election, thanks to predictions that the Conservative government will take steps to boost the housing market. 

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: "We felt that the Conservatives coming to power was going to be a positive for housebuilders. With the summer budget in a few weeks, there's every likelihood of the confirmation of ongoing benefits. So there's optimism in that regard, and with Berkeley’s good figures as well, it all bodes well for the sector."


Unfortunately for the supermarket sector, shares in grocery industries are falling. Leading retailers Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer and Tesco all saw the value of their shares fall by around one per cent on Wednesday. Some believe this is due to negative comments made by Credit Suisse.

Analysts from the financial firm said: "We see few opportunities within a group that has historically misallocated capital, is faced with extreme competitive pressures and operates in a very low-growth environment."

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