Like athletes testing their limits, the FTSE 100 and the FTSE All-Share Indices both almost hit new highs last week. The FTSE 100 closed the week above the 6,500 level for the first time in a while. Strong corporate earnings and good news from Europe helped support last week’s strong performance.
Corporate earnings season – the period when companies’ managements tell shareholders how well the companies have performed during the previous quarter – is almost over. Seventy-two percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have beaten analysts’ expectations, according to information provided by FactSet and reported on MarketWatch. Since 1994, about 63 percent of companies have beaten expectations on average.
In Europe, Italy’s elected leaders finally resolved their political impasse and formed a government. The highly-diverse coalition includes a record number of women, as well as Italy’s first non-white minister. The new cabinet was sworn in on Sunday, April 28. On Monday, Italy’s FTSE MIB, an index which reflects the performance of the Italian stock market, the MSCI World Index, and U.K. stock markets moved higher.