A buoyant Christmas trading update from fashion chain Next ensured a solid session for retailers today as the wider market also climbed further past the 6,000 mark.
Next leaped to the top of the FTSE 100 Index risers board as shares rose 3% or 101p to £38.73 after it reported a 3.9% rise in sales throughout November and December and lifted its profit forecast.
A better-than-expected jobs report in America also helped the FTSE 100 Index hold on to Wednesday’s 2.2% surge, up another 20 points at 6,047.3.
Next was joined on the risers board by Marks & Spencer, up 5.7p to 388.4p on raised hopes for its update next week.
In the FTSE 250, Debenhams also benefited from the retail cheer with a 2.1p gain to 117.2p – a rise of 2%.
Morrisons, which is due to post its Christmas statement on Monday, climbed 1.9p to 259.3p.
Larger rival Tesco was also on the risers board, up 7.25p to 350p. The group reports its Christmas sales figures next Thursday, while Sainsbury’s updates on Wednesday in a busy week for retail figures.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers included BP ahead 10.4p to 441.7p and Aberdeen Asset Management up 7.7p to 383.2p.
Among the biggest FTSE 100 fallers were CRH down 17p to £12.66, Croda International off 31p to £23.57, Capital Shopping Centres 4.6p lower at 358.3p and Centrica down 4p to 336.8p.
Barry Shepherd, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, noted that risers included Standard Life, which added 1.1% to 346.4p, while Cairn Energy closed 2.9% higher at 277.8p.
Fallers meanwhile included Petrofac, which shed 0.5% to £16.73.