Christmas shoppers push FTSE to new all-time high

Yesterday saw London’s top-flight index break records again after soaring to a fresh all-time high, buoyed by positive festive results from a series of high street retailers.

Britain’s blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent at 7,748.51 points, a new closing record and outperforming the broader European market, while mid-caps .FTMC declined 0.6 percent.

The FTSE closed up 17.49 points to beat Tuesday’s record of 7,731.02.

Royal Bank of Scotland led the FTSE 100, up 4.6 percent after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the stock to “overweight”.

Morgan Stanley said RBS was the most resilient UK bank in an uncertain outlook.

Meanwhile, supermarket giant Sainsbury’s saw shares up 2 per cent, or 5.5p at 253.9p after the UK’s second biggest supermarket chalked up its best ever sales over the festive period. Like-for-like sales over the 15 weeks to January 6 were up by 1.1 per cent year-on-year, with 25p vegetable lines proving popular.

Sainsbury’s also flagged that sales at its general merchandise arm, including Argos, fell 1.4 per cent – but it expects full-year profits “moderately ahead” of the £559 million consensus.

Marks and Spencer rose 5.7p to £3.24 after a boardroom reshuffle, while fashion chain Ted Baker was the biggest riser in the second tier – up 9 per cent, or £2.82 to £31.18.