Transport giant Stagecoach, aviation services and newspaper distribution concern John Menzies and plastics group British Polythene Industries were all in demand on hopes of lower oil prices, while cloud-computing specialist Iomart enjoyed fresh support after its recent trading update. Other strong gainers included housebuilder Galliford Try and Smiths Group, which have both announced fat dividend increases.
The total value of our portfolios hit a record £39,155 when we reviewed our progress on Wednesday, up by approaching £1000 in the past four weeks. Our 2013 portfolio was the main beneficiary last week, its total gain moving above 30% for the first time. The 2010 selections consolidated recent rises which have seen an appreciation of more than 100% over the past 45 months.
The latest increases follow an easing of tensions over Syria, together with improved economic news at home and hopes of increasing stability in the eurozone.
It has led analysts at Citigroup to claim that the FTSE 100 index could rise by another 20% by the end of next year.
We loosened the purse strings last week to make a notional purchase of shares in Dunfermline-based retinal imaging group Optos ahead of the closure of its financial year at the end of this month.
We are not expecting much from the latest figures, but have noted recent support for the shares after an earlier sharp fall and look for an encouraging update on 2014 prospects together with news of product launches.