The FTSE 100’s Mood Swings, Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Tesco PLC And Unilever Plc In Our Highlights This Week

It’s time for me to highlight three articles from that I’ve found particularly insightful over the past week. If you’ve missed them, I think they’re well worth reading, so don’t miss out!

First up this week, some shameless self-promotion! A few months ago I wrote an article describing how the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) had hit a new 12-year high, and in an opinion piece this week I looked back and surveyed the mess, “34 trading days later”. Since then, the FTSE 100 has continued to confound the critics, rising another 120 points to 6570 at the time of writing. As the FTSE 100 veers in random directions depending on the tone of Ben Bernanke’s voice, I still think that investors benefit from declaring “I don’t know what the FTSE 100 is going to do next”!

In another opinion piece, new Fool writer Peter Stephens turned his focus to whether Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) (NYSE: LYG.US) could be the best bank to own before the next general election. The political factors certainly make following state-backed Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland intriguing. I love finding situations where irrational, non-business factors are hampering a company’s valuation, and nothing quite distorts share values quite like politics. As I’ve written before, though, I struggle to place a value on Lloyds as a business myself, and find it difficult to predict what the bank is likely to earn over the long term.

And in this video, Foolish marketing ace Chris Nials wanted to know whether Tesco (LSE: TSCO) or Unilever (LSE: ULVR) would make the best share to add to a beginner’s portfolio at today’s prices. Naturally, you can’t keep me away from a discussion about two of the market’s finest-quality companies, and I rushed in to take on the question! Both companies have such attractive durable businesses in their established markets, and remarkable long-term potential overseas. But while Tesco is in the dog-house with investors, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their cheaper shares, while Unilever is somewhat pricier at over 20 times its normalised earnings.

So which other UK shares would we recommend looking at today? If you have an interest in big-hitting FTSE 100 blue-chip shares to invest in for the long term, you should really check out the Motley Fool’s exclusive wealth report, 5 Shares You Can Retire On.

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> Mark does not own any shares in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco and has recommended shares in Unilever.