UK stocks gained for the eleventh day running on Friday after US shares hit record highs overnight. The Nasdaq index topped the 9,000 level for the first time yesterday helped by Amazon.com which reported ‘record-breaking’ sales for the holiday season.
In contrast the FTSE 250 index of mid-cap stocks was flat at 21,978 as gains in smaller miners such as Fresnillo (FRES) and Hochschild (HOC) were offset by falls in engineering firms Bodycote (BOY), Bunzl (BNZL) and Senior (SNR) as well as food producer Bakkavor (BAKK).
Retailers were held back by a report from consultants Springboard which pointed to a significant fall in Boxing Day sales for the fourth year running.
According to the report, as of midday footfall was down by 10% on last year with high streets seeing an even steeper fall. Springboard put part of the decline down to wet weather which put shoppers off venturing out to the traditional post-Christmas sales.
Clinic operator NMC Health (NMC), the target of short-selling by US hedge fund Muddy Waters, was the biggest FTSE 100 loser slipping another 2.2% to £17.42 despite the publication of more material in its effort to counter concerns over its accounting practices.