FTSE steadies after 14-year high, LSE gains

Thu May 15, 2014 7:21am EDT

* FTSE 100 steadies after hitting 14-year high

* London Stock Exchange gains after results

* Index less than 1 pct away from record peak

* Airlines weaken; RBC cuts easyJet target price

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index steadied after setting a 14-year high on Thursday, while shares in the London Stock Exchange were up strongly after it reported a near-50 percent rise in full-year revenue.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 7.89 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,886.38 points by 1102 GMT, having climbed to 6,894.88 earlier in the session, the highest level since December 1999 when it set a record high of 6,950.60 points.

The lifetime peak was less than 1 percent away from the current level and analysts said the positive momentum following record highs set by other indexes, such as Germany's DAX and the Dow Jones industrial average in the United States, would help the British index.

But the upside move might not be sustainable in the near term.

"The UK market is a in a very strong position to make new highs but in the process, it will face a massive resistance at 1999's record high level," Petra von Kerssenbrock, technical analyst at Commerzbank, said.

"The index could fall back after setting a record peak to consolidate in order to prepare some ground to continue to move to the upside."

LSE was among the top blue-chip performers, up 2.4 percent.

British Airways owner IAG and easyJet bucked the slightly firmer market trend, extending runs of profit-taking seen since their results, with both airlines having jumped by more than 40 percent over the last 12 months.

Traders said an elevated oil price was partly to blame for the share price falls, with Brent crude around two-and-a-half-week highs above $110 a barrel. For table of jet fuel hedging positions:

RBC cut its target price for easyJet, to 1,750 pence from 1,800 pence, highlighting the difficulties set out by easyJet in its results statement in forecasting passenger behaviour this summer since people's holiday dates might be based on whether their team was still in the World Cup soccer competition.

Shares in easyJet were down about 4.6 percent and IAG down 4.2 percent. (Additional reporting by Atul Prakash. Editing by Jane Merriman)