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FTSE 100 hits record as retailers rally

supermarket checkout retailers

supermarket checkout retailers

The FTSE 100 has reached another record higher this morning as financial and retail stocks are in demand. 

RBS was upgraded by Morgan Stanley to overweight from equal-weight and this has pushed up the rest of the banking sector.  

Sainsburys posted a record Christmas week and it now expects full-year profits to exceed the current forecast. The retailer revealed a 1.1% rise in group sales for the 15 weeks until early January, while traders were expecting a reading of 1%. Argo is performing well its now account for 20% of group online sales. Same day delivery for the online grocery service is now available at over 90 stores, and this will be expanded upon. The firm is on track to cut costs by £185 million this year. The share price is up over 2% today and hit its highest level since July, so investors are clearly bullish on the stock.

Ted Baker had a ‘good’ Christmas period and it is on track to achieve its full-year target. The period from mid-November until early January saw retail sales rise by 9%. The fashion house is embracing the world of e-commerce as online sales jumped by 35% and now accounts from 30% of total sales. Margins remain healthy too. The stock is up 7.5% and is nearing a one-year high.

EUR/USD has edged up after a couple of days of losses. The single currency lost ground to the US dollar at the start of the week and now the greenback is taking a breather the euro is higher today. The increase in German bond yields, as a reaction to the Bank of Japan’s decision to trim their stimulus package is assisting the euro. France announced some disappointing industrial production figures, the November report showed a 0.5% decline and the October figure was revised lower to 1.7%. The French figure failed to hold back the euro though.

GBP/USD is in the red again as the large increase in the UK trade balance put pressure on the pound. In November the UK trade deficit increased to £12.23 billion from £10.78 billion, and that figure eclipsed the strong than expecting manufacturing and industrial output.

At 1pm (UK time) the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) will announce their estimate for UK GDP and the consensus is for 0.5% in December.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open down 25 points at 25,360, and we are calling the S&P 500 down 5 points at 2746.

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