FTSE 100 Live: Interest rates rise 0.50% to 2.25% as Bank of England steps up inflation fight

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FTSE 100 recovers lost ground, Halma higher

Halma, listed on the FTSE 100, was in demand today as investors sought defensive stocks in a session dominated by economic concerns.

The security technology company’s stock market appeal stems from 19 straight years of record earnings and 43 straight years of double-digit dividend growth.

Halma’s defensive qualities have boosted its valuation during the pandemic, but there has been a drop of around a third in 2022 as some of the scum exits stocks.

There was an 11p improvement to 2119p today, however, after Halma revealed the first half was in line with expectations amid continued strong growth in order intake at its portfolio companies.

The conglomerate, which employs 7,000 people and has been named one of Britain’s most admired companies for the past three years, added that the weaker pound would also have a positive impact on its bottom line.

Acquisition activity has been much quieter than the 13 companies acquired in a “very active” 2021/22 year, but Halma described the deal pipeline as promising for its three sectors covering security, environment and health.

Halma was joined within the FTSE 100 riser chart by defensive stocks with brand strength and pricing power to offset inflationary pressures.

They included drinks company Guinness and Smirnoff Diageo, which rose 18.5p to 3,819.5p, and Unilever after rising 20.5p to 4,073p. Imperial marks increased by 17p to 1917p.

Vodafone added another 0.7p to 109.4p, after rising 2% yesterday as investors digested the disclosure that French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel bought a 2.5% stake worth of around £750 million.

The wider London market opened more than 1% lower after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75% for the third consecutive meeting and lowered its growth forecast.

Despite the gloomy outlook, mining stocks then helped the FTSE 100 fall just 7.57 points to 7230.07. The FTSE 250 index more accurately reflected the lingering economic uncertainty after falling 166.85 points to 18,546.17.

Big droppers included Aston Martin Lagonda, which fell 8.6p to 156.6p, and low-cost airline easyjet with a drop of 10.6p to 330.3p.

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