UK stocks continue their Christmas rally on Tuesday with markets extending two-week highs ahead of a barrage of economic data. London’s FTSE 100 edges fractionally higher to 6,589 in early trading, rising for the sixth straight session. The index closed at 6,576.74 on Monday, its highest finish since 8 December.

Engineering group Weir (WEIR) heads the Footsie leader board after yesterday's modest director share buying, up 3% at £19.30, while UK chip designs champion ARM (ARM) is also in demand, 2% higher at 993.5p.

But going the other way is chocolate maker Thorntons (THT). The shares slump 23% to 91p after warning full-year profits will now come in below last year's £7.5 million haul. The earnings alert reflects a drop in orders from major grocers as well as supply chain problems. In October's first quarter update the chocolatier flagged disappointing sales to supermarkets, yet argued this would reverse and expressed confidence in hitting the £9.65 million year to June consensus estimate.

Outsourcing company Capita (CPI) gains marginally at £10.93 after appointing Halma’s (HLMA) highly-respected boss Andrew Williams to its board as an independent non-executive director.

Resource stocks are again among the major drags on the Footsie, with BG (BG.) the biggest blue-chip faller in early deals, off 1.6% at 872p, while FTSE 250 north sea producer Enquest's (ENQ) 5% decline to 37p heads the FTSE All-Share loser board.

Purchasing platform provider CloudBuy (CBUY:AIM) drops just shy of 13% to 27p as investment in opening new markets drags on revenues. India, Hong Kong and Australia are among new geographies opened up but the company has also ploughed more cash into expansion, sparking the revenue warning.

Clinical researcher Venn Life Sciences (VENN:AIM) gains 6.4% to 16.5p on revenues this year expected to be double the €2 million recorded in 2013 on the back of new contract wins.

Buy-to-let investor Mill Residential REIT (MRR:AIM) rises 2.5% to 103.5p as its shares start trading on AIM.

Kitchens manufacturer and retailer John Lewis of Hungerford (JLH:AIM) is marked down 2.2% to 1.1p on news of a drop in annual profits and mixed current trading update.

Find out how to deal online from £1.50 in a SIPP, ISA or Dealing account.

Issue Date: 23 Dec 2014