Abolish the FTSE 100: can I have the FTSE UK Index please?

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I noticed this amongst the many links I get each day:

Ukrainian companies have in recent years stepped up efforts to raise money and list stock on international markets. Despite a slowdown linked to the global credit crunch, the expectation is that Ukrainian companies will raise record amounts of capital in the near term, and a long list of domestic companies will eventually list their stock via initial public offerings (IPOs) on the London Stock Exchange.

That's fine, or at least it would be except for the fact that the same article notes that "Many companies active in Ukraine, but backed by domestic or Russian businessmen, are registered in UK tax havens." But it also draws attention to something that annoys me numerous times each and every day.

I am intensely annoyed by the incessant reporting of movements in the FTSE 100 index on just about every news bulletin I hear as if this is indication of either my well being or that of the UK economy as a whole.

Neither is true. As far as is possible I have no money invested in the London Stock Exchange. I think it irrational for anyone to do so right now. Second, and more important, a substantial proportion of the FTSE has nothing to do with the UK. Either, as is the case with the Ukrainian companies noted above, they're using it as a market place which indicates no link with any real economic activity in the UK, or even if the company is registered and trades here much of the activity it undertakes is elsewhere. In that case the rise and fall of the FTSE is no real indicator of the health of the UK economy at all.

So why haven't we got a FTSE UK Index? This would be drawn from the FTSE 250 (the 100 would be too narrow, I suspect) and would be a weighted index so that companies would be included by the weight of their activity in the UK market. That would knock out most of the extractive companies for starters. But Tescos would be pretty big, although it's whole value would have to be discounted for index purposes: it does have significant overseas operations.

Do this and the index might really communicate something of interest to those in the UK right now. Don't do it and the data that's reported will remain meaningless babble, which I gather from most I have asked on the subject is what they think it to be.

Any takers?

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