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Reed Elsevier helps life FTSE 100

Thursday, July 24 15:31:28

Britain's main equity index was steady today, as gains at media company Reed Elsevier helped offset a slump in home improvements retailer Kingfisher.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was flat at 6,800.61 points going into the close of the trading day.

Reed Elsevier climbed 3.8 percent after reporting first-half earnings that beat market expectations.

However, Kingfisher slumped 7.7 percent after it suffered a sharp slowdown in trading in June.

Weak corporate results have helped push down the FTSE over the past month from earlier peaks, with the index still down about 1.3 percent from its May peak of 6,894.88 points, which marked its highest level since December 1999.

However, Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar backed using days when the market fell to add to equity positions as he felt the FTSE should hit a record level of 7,000 points later this year, helped by Britain's strengthening economy.

"Even with thin volumes, the market has been well supported down at the lower levels. The probability of a breakout to the upside is growing," said Afsar.

Kyri Kangellaris, managing director at Strand Capital, said clients with more short-term positions should look to sell out of the FTSE at the 6,850 point level for a profit, but buy back into it if the FTSE fell back down to the 6,750 point level.

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