All three of Wall Street's main indices notched record closes on Tuesday as investors looked ahead to the start of earnings season.
Weakness in the single currency drove further gains in shares on the Continent, helping to offset weakness in the Utilities space as bond yields advanced.
London stocks notched up a record closing high on Tuesday as retailers were boosted by a strong Christmas trading update from Morrisons and strong supermarket industry data.
Supermarket shares were the toast of the FTSE 100 as new figures showed they notched up the busiest shopping day ever recorded on the Friday before Christmas, selling £1bn more groceries than the year before.
Wall Street's main market gauges were trading mostly higher, propelled by an outsized move in lenders' shares as longer-term interest rates moved towards closer towards their 2017 highs after the Bank of Japan sprang a bit of a surprise overnight.
Spirits distilling company Stock Spirits Group announced that momentum from its strong first half had carried on to the second, with the firm expecting results for the full-year to come in slightly ahead of expectations.
Ineon, the petrochemicals group owned by Jim Ratcliffe, has applied for a judicial review of the Scottish government's decision to ban fracking announced in October.
Brownfield land and property development firm Harworth Group returned another strong operational performance in the second half of its trading year.
Cybersecurity software provider Osirium Technologies confirmed that trading in the calendar year had continued to improve as hoped, and that results would be in line with market expectations.
Molecular diagnostics company Biocartis Group signed a new companion diagnostic development (CDx) agreement with biotechnology firm Amgen on Tuesday over the latter's Idylla compound.
Mark Newton-Jones, chief executive officer of children's retailer Mothercare, picked up 218,866 ordinary shares in the firm on Tuesday at a price of 45. 69p per share.
JPMorgan Cazenove downgraded Mothercare to ‘underweight’ from ‘neutral’ and slashed the price target to 40p from 82p on weak UK trading following the retailer’s profit warning on Monday.
Carr’s said on Tuesday that trading is in line with the board’s expectations for the current financial year and “significantly ahead” of the previous year in both agriculture and engineering.
Equities around the Asia Pacific region finished the session little changed for the most part, despite record closes overnight on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.
London’s FTSE 250 was flat at 20,854. 85 in afternoon trade on Tuesday.
Wednesday sees UK industrial production, construction output and trade data, plus company updates from retailers Sainsbury's and SuperGroup/SuperDry, builder Taylor Wimpey and Tullow Oil.
Ferrexpo reported higher production of iron ore pellets in the fourth quarter, though the Ukraine-based company's output for 2017 was down on the previous year due to earlier maintenance of its pelletiser machine.
Stocks are making headway, boosted by a dip in the single currency and supportive economic data.
UK supermarkets had a very merry Christmas as they notched up the busiest shopping day ever recorded on the Friday before Christmas and in the run-up to the big day sold £1bn more groceries than the year before.
Lidl is opening its largest UK warehouse in Luton as part of the German discounter's £1. 45bn investment in growth to keep up its assault on the Big Four supermarkets.