FTSE steadies after 14-year high, LSE gains

Thu May 15, 2014 4:46am EDT

* FTSE 100 steadies after hitting 14-year high

* London Stock Exchange gains after results

* Index less than 1 pct away from record peak

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index steadied after setting a 14-year high on Thursday, with the London Stock Exchange gaining after reporting a near-50 percent rise in full-year revenue.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.04 percent at 6,874.56 points by 0819 GMT after climbing up to 6,894.88 earlier in the session, the highest level since December 1999 when the benchmark 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.

However, the upside move might not prove to 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."

The stock market has been supported by a fast improving economic outlook and a series of merger and acquisition news.

In another deal, Britain's Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail, both mid-cap companies, agreed a 3.8 billion pounds ($6.38 billion) all-share merger, creating a powerful pan-European mobile phone and electricals group. Carphone shares opened 1.4 percent higher.

"Enhanced commercial opportunities and operating synergies have been highlighted by management. As such, an international retailing giant with over 2,500 stores is being crafted, and one which will potentially join the UK's elite FTSE 100 index," Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Alison Williams)