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London midday: FTSE continues strong gains as confidence grows

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The FTSE continued to make strides, sitting almost 50 points higher by the midday point Friday, marking its sixth day of gains.

The rise was largely driven by record highs seen last night over in the US, although reports of strong post-Christmas trading gave retailers a boost and rising metal prices gave miners a lift.

In today’s macro news it was reported that women expect to receive a retirement income 25% less than that of men, research by Friends Life revealed. 1,500 people spent part of Christmas day filing their tax return, HM Revenue and Customs has reported.

New plans for cheque deposits were revealed over the festive period; if the proposals, which are based on mobile technology, go ahead cheques could take just two days to clear as opposed to the six it currently takes.

Miners and retails drive FTSE higher

Mining stocks were leading the risers, helped in part by a rising metal and platinum price, but moreover as risk appetite grew on the back of strong data out this week in the US.

Steel group EVRAZ rose strongly after disposing of a number of iron ore assets and utilities in Russia as it continues to “optimise” its Evrazruda portfolio.

BAE Systems continued to register decent gains after it on Monday won a $1bn deal to upgrade a number of South Korean fighter jets.

Department store chain Debenhams was making gains despite rumours that its Finance Director Simon Herrick could be leaving the company amid growing criticism of his recent performance.

Other retailers on the High Street were mostly higher this morning as investors reacted to Boxing Data sales figures, while supermarket peers Tesco, Morrison and Sainsbury were putting in decent performances this morning. Meanwhile, shares in home credit firm International Personal Finance (IPF) plummeted following the news of a fine in Poland. As markets reopened following the Christmas break, investors were reacting to a statement released late on Tuesday detailing a £2.4m fine relating to “a collective infringement of consumer interests” by its business in Poland. Barclays was this week fined £2.3m for “records failure” by a US regulator, relating to an alleged 10 years of poor data preservation and emailing practices.

FTSE 100 – Risers

Antofagasta (ANTO) 827.50p +2.79% Fresnillo (FRES) 728.50p +2.68% Aggreko (AGK) 1,726.00p +2.13% Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 314.60p +2.13% CRH (CRH) 1,536.00p +1.99% Anglo American (AAL) 1,299.50p +1.88% Diageo (DGE) 1,991.50p +1.81% Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 338.00p +1.75% Intertek Group (ITRK) 3,122.00p +1.69% Experian (EXPN) 1,115.00p +1.64%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Persimmon (PSN) 1,202.00p -1.39% Old Mutual (OML) 190.80p -1.04% Land Securities Group (LAND) 952.50p -0.99% Kingfisher (KGF) 383.70p -0.85% Whitbread (WTB) 3,678.00p -0.57% Hammerson (HMSO) 499.30p -0.54% Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,227.00p -0.22% TUI Travel (TT.) 403.80p -0.20% AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,605.00p -0.19% RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 92.30p -0.16%

Source: ShareCast