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My dad invested his pension but he’s too ill to handle it any more – what can we do? Can I get broadband without a landline? Bankers predict a record 7,700 for the Footsie in 2015 – but after they were so badly wrong last year, do we trust them? Read this: Bankers predict a record 7,700 for the Footsie in 2015 – but after they were so badly wrong last year, do we trust them? The stock market will rise by as much as 17 per cent this year according to the City’s most bullish experts, despite their forecasts for 2014 having been wildly over-optimistic. Stock market strategists at leading investment banks are predicting the FTSE 100 will rise as high as 7,700 from its current 6,548.
Morgan Stanley has set a more modest target of 7,200, while Barclays is suggesting 7,300, but even these would represent a rise of more than 10 per cent. Such figures would also mark an all-time high for the FTSE 100, which peaked at 6,930 at the end of 1999, but was hit by the dotcom bust and then the credit crisis and has never reached such a level again. The forecasts come after a year in which City experts were proved wide of the mark in their previous predictions, having expected the FTSE 100 to reach new highs in 2014. Although it came within a whisker of the 6,930 record, it never broke through. The biggest gainers in the FTSE last year were Dixons Carphone, formed by a merger of the two electronic retailers, and drugs group Shire, which was the target of a takeover by a US rival. The falling oil price knocked the value of oil groups such as BP, which fell 16 per cent.
BP alone accounts for 5 per cent of the total value of the FTSE 100. Experts have warned that the biggest threat to the UK market this year is the General Election. The question of the UK’s membership of the EU, set to be a key issue in the Election and beyond, and a British exit was a ‘not insignificant risk’, the bank said. City economists now predict the first rise in the Bank of England base rate will not happen until the second half of 2015 at the earliest. The Bank meets next week to make its first rate decision of 2015 and is considered certain to leave the cost of borrowing at 0. Beyond the UK, JPMorgan Cazenove forecasts the Continental stock market overall to perform better than that of the UK.
But specific markets may well face difficulties, particularly Greece, which faces a general election in three weeks’ time. The Left-leaning anti-austerity Syriza party is expected to emerge as the largest group in the Greek parliament. I flew to Hungary to have my teeth fixed. Can you change a name on a plane ticket? Could you ditch bricks and mortar and buy a canal boat? How much does a wedding really cost and who should pay?