FTSE Shares That Soared and Plunged This Week


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 had an erratic week, with fears of the Cyprus bailout crisis hitting markets across Europe. The government of the island had initially planned to impose a tax on bank balances but has thankfully now backed away from that potentially disastrous idea. The index of the U.K.'s biggest stocks ended its 12-day run of closing above 6,400, and finished Friday on 6,393 points.

Now, let's look at some of the FTSE's largest movers on the week.

NEXT stock shot up on Thursday after the High Street retailer lifted its earnings per share and dividend by 16%, with the price ending the week 271 pence (6.6%) higher on 4,361 pence. The full-year dividend of 105 pence per share was yielding 2.5% on the day's price and was very well covered by underlying earnings of 298 pence per share. NEXT Directory sales contributed strongly to the company's multichannel retailing, with sales up 9.5%.

J Sainsbury
J Sainsbury saw its price gain 12.7 pence (3.5%) over the week to 375.5 pence after the U.K. supermarket released an upbeat trading update on Tuesday. Total sales for the 10 weeks to March 16 rose by 7.1%, with like-for-like sales up 4.2%. Chief executive Justin King told us that "over the quarter, we grew customer transactions to 22.9m per week, serving more customers than ever." Sainsbury stock is now up more than 15% over the past 12 months.

United Utilities
The price of United Utilities gained 2.9% on the week, picking up 20 pence to end at 709 pence. The driver this week was the release of a trading update, telling us that profits for the year should be "slightly higher" than the previous year, and that the firm is on track to achieve its "2010-2015 regulatory outperformance targets." The full-year dividend is forecast to rise by 7% to 34.4 pence per share.

Anglo American
The miners were among the FSTE 100's biggest losers this week, with Anglo American leading the way down with a 163 pence loss to 1,729.5 pence. Others fell, too, with Rio Tinto down 6.2% to 3,108.5 pence and BHP Billiton down a similar 6.2% to 1,936 pence. Mining shares are being depressed by fears for global prices for commodities, especially iron ore, which is the biggest product for these three.

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The article FTSE Shares That Soared and Plunged This Week originally appeared on Fool.com.

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