FTSE ‘poised for record’ in 30th year

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BRITAIN’S leading share index marks its 30th anniversary today as forecasts suggest it will reach record highs in the year ahead.

The FTSE 100 replaced the FT30 as the main indicator for the performances of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange on January 3, 1984.

Today, the combined value of its constituents stands at £1.87 trillion, more than 10 times higher than the market capitalisation total of £164bn in December 1985 – the first available data. The index has weathered the miners’ strike, the Big Bang of market deregulation in 1986 and the Black Monday crash of 1987, as well as the dotcom boom and the financial crisis in more recent years.

But just 30 of the original companies remain on the list, which is composed of the 100 biggest London-listed firms by market value. Only 19 have remained in the index for the entire period – including oil giant BP, retailer Marks & Spencer and insurer Prudential.

Big names that have dropped out, been broken up, or bought out, include Imperial Chemical Industries, GEC and Scottish & Newcastle breweries. Others that have joined since include BT, Vodafone and Royal Mail. Many of the others now on the list have operations largely based abroad, meaning the performance of the index is often more heavily influenced by world economic currents than the domestic scene.

The FTSE 100 was founded with a base level of 1,000 in 1984. It reached an all-time closing high of 6930.2 at the height of the dotcom boom on December 30, 1999.

The steepest fall came on October 20, 1987, when it plunged 12.2 per cent following a wave of panic selling on Wall Street that became known as Black Monday.