View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a982872
FTSE hits record on supermarkets, miners & pound
FTSE 100 hits another all-time high, buoyed by a rally in supermarkets after strong sales figures, rising miners and a falling pound.
Update: A new day has brought another all-time high for the FTSE 100, which hit 7,275 before falling back to trade at 7,267, up 30 points, or 0.4% on the day.
The UK blue-chip index was supported by supermarkets after forecast-beating results from Morrisons and strong sales from Tesco, a rally in miners, and the pound's continued slump on fears of a 'hard' Brexit.
Morrisons (MRW) jumped 3.5% to 245.7p after the supermarket beat expectations for Christmas trading, reporting the strongest underlying sales performance for seven years.
'Morrisons has taken action on pricing and is now more competitive at the tills, which are ringing more often as the impressive growth in transaction numbers shows,' said George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
'That must be music to the ears of David Potts, who has steered the group to a much more positive position than during the dark days of the last few years.'
Tesco (TSCO) was close behind, up 4% at 209p, after the UK's biggest retailer recorded the fastest growing sales of the major supermarkets over the Christmas period, according to data from market researchers Kantar Worldpanel.
But the biggest riser on the index was Anglo American (AAL), up 6.2% at £12.26 as metal prices rose after solid inflation figures from China.
The FTSE 100 was given added impetus by the continued fall in the pound, boosting stocks in the index which receive around three-quarters of their earnings from overseas.
The pound neared a 31-year low set last October, falling to $1.211 in the early hours of trading, before recovering some ground to $1.215, down 0.1% on the day.
The latest sell-off in sterling was sparked by prime minister Theresa May's comments over the weekend, when she signalled Britain could leave the single market as part of its European Union exit.
Banks were among the fallers, with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) down 1.1% at 224.8p.
On the FTSE 250, Just Eat (JE) was a big faller, down 5.8% at 549p as investors were left disappointed by a lack of a guidance upgrade in its latest results, after five in the last 20 months.
Among 'small cap' stocks, Gocompare (GOCO) jumped 9.6% to 74.3p after the price comparison website reported a 19% jump in full-year revenue.
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Look up the shares
- WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (MRW.L)
- Tesco PLC (TSCO.L)
- Anglo American PLC (AAL.L)
- Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.L)
- Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.L)
- BHP Billiton PLC (BLT.L)
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.L)
- Just Eat PLC (JE.L)
- Gocompare.Com Group PLC (GOCO.L)
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