London close: Stocks end 2017 with a bang as FTSE hits fresh high
London stocks ended the year with a bang on Friday, pushing up to a fresh closing high, having risen around 8% since the start of 2017.
The FTSE 100 closed up 0.85% at 7687.77, after kicking off the year around the 7,120 mark, rounding off the final trading week of the year in style amid holiday-thinned volumes. Meanwhile, the FTSE 250 was also in record territory, ending up 0.4% at 20,726.26.
At the same time, the pound was up 0.2% versus the euro at 1.1272 and 0.6% higher against the dollar at 1.3518.
IG analyst Chris Beauchamp said: "The FTSE 100’s record-breaking run continues, with the index making the most of the festive lull in news and volumes to push to a new all-time high. This comes even as the pound moves above $1.35, indicating that, for now at least, investors see much more to the index than just currency weakness. The same cannot be said for Europe, which continues to flounder. Here, the prospect of the ECB moving to €30bn rather than €60bn a month in QE purchases, despite being well-telegraphed, appears to be diminishing the appeal of one of the popular trades of 2017.
"Next week is dominated by PMI numbers and the US jobs report. The usual focus on the jobs report should not obscure the fact that the employment recovery is a done deal, but the bounce in wages is not. 2017 was a year when inflation indices refused to budge, but will 2018 be any different?"
Precious metals miners Fresnillo and Randgold shone as gold prices gained, while Rio Tinto rallied as copper prices held at four-year highs.
Retailers were on the back foot, however, with Kingfisher, Marks & Spencer and Next all weaker despite some upbeat retail sales data.
Shopping in the week before Christmas was better for high street retailers than in the same period last year, according to data released earlier.
Like-for-like store sales in the week ending Sunday 24 December 2017 were 5.3% higher this year than the equivalent week last year, the BDO High Street Sales Tracker revealed.
The survey of small and medium-sized non-food chains saw fashion store sales rise by 3.9% on a LFL basis, with the inclusion of homewares and lifestyle chains taking the total up to 5.3%.
Online sales were notably strong, up nearly 40%, with online fashion sales rising 32.5% compared to last year.
Elsewhere, Balfour Beatty was up after saying it will pay down debt and its full year results will be higher than recently guided after it sold off another chunk of its stake in Connect Plus, the company which operates the M25 orbital motorway.
Low-cost airline Wizz Air flew higher as it completed and signed documentation with Airbus which, amongst other things, provides for the purchase of 146 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft.
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was lifted by an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan Cazenove.
Just Eat advanced as it shares had lost almost 5% over the past month. Beauchamp said investors were looking to benefit from a week in which takeaway consumption has risen. “People, understandably, are rather tired of turkey, and Just Eat is ideally placed to benefit. Having been promoted recently to the premier index, the firm is looking forward to more growth next year.”
FTSE 100 - Risers
Old Mutual (OML) 231.70p 3.02%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,429.00p 2.81%
Just Eat (JE.) 781.00p 2.76%
G4S (GFS) 267.00p 2.50%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 5,120.00p 2.43%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,942.00p 2.18%
NMC Health (NMC) 2,898.00p 2.08%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,410.00p 2.07%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 2,523.00p 2.02%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,526.00p 1.77%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Kingfisher (KGF) 337.70p -1.97%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,197.00p -0.90%
WPP (WPP) 1,341.00p -0.74%
Informa (INF) 722.00p -0.48%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 314.80p -0.47%
Ferguson (FERG) 5,330.00p -0.47%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,820.00p -0.46%
Next (NXT) 4,525.00p -0.40%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 206.40p -0.29%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,084.00p -0.23%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,301.00p 5.94%
Acacia Mining (ACA) 199.80p 4.88%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 897.50p 4.48%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 665.00p 3.66%
Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 326.10p 3.52%
Dignity (DTY) 1,815.00p 3.48%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 396.70p 3.12%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 3,682.00p 3.08%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 151.90p 3.05%
WH Smith (SMWH) 2,339.00p 2.32%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Provident Financial (PFG) 898.00p -3.02%
Vectura Group (VEC) 118.00p -2.88%
esure Group (ESUR) 248.50p -2.36%
Bellway (BWY) 3,579.00p -1.81%
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund Limited (SEQI) 111.60p -1.67%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 717.50p -1.51%
Cairn Energy (CNE) 213.80p -1.43%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 2,554.00p -1.43%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 1,012.00p -1.36%
AA (AA.) 170.00p -1.28%