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FTSE 100 closes higher as UK assets are back in fashion

FTSE  People walk along the bank of the River Thames with the City of London financial district in the background, in London, Britain, January 13, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
FTSE 100 finished higher this Monday, continuing this new year's rally. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

The FTSE 100 and European stocks were higher on Monday as the UK blue-chip index came close to a new record high.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) rose 0.21% to close at 7,860, while the CAC 40 (^FCHI) in Paris climbed 0.35% to 7,048 points. In Germany, the DAX (^GDAXI) advanced 0.40% to 15,147.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Investors appear to have fallen back in love with UK assets, after a difficult period when FTSE 100 was the wallflower among global indices.

“Confidence has rebounded as investors eye up China’s reopening, helping commodity stocks.

“A stronger than expected appetite from consumers has boosted the retail, travel and hospitality sectors, while banks are still riding the wave of higher interest rates.

“Things are looking up for the UK, and the footsie is the flavour of the month, but there is a risk this could be a short-lived crush.

Read more: House prices on the rise again despite mortgage hikes

“There are still niggles of worries which could blow up about ebbing consumer and company resilience in the months to come on both sides of the Atlantic.”

At 7,859, it came within touching distance of its record intraday high. That was 7,903 points set in May 2018, before it closed at 7844.

Ocado Group (OCDO.L) led gains, up 4.79%, followed by Taylor Wimpey (TW.L), up 2.88%, and Halma (HLMA.L), up by 2.68%.

Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) rose 3.17% on the FTSE 250 in response to news of its plans to open 20 new stores throughout the UK, creating 3,400 new jobs.

Meanwhile, Brent crude (BZ=F) retreated and was trading at around $84 per barrel, as investors wait for market forecasts due this week by OPEC and the International Energy Agency.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) closed lower, losing 1.14% to 25,822 points, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong slipped 0.19% to 21,698. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) edged higher, climbing 1.01% to 3,227 points.

Across the pond, stocks finished higher on Friday as earnings reporting season got underway and companies began to show how they are navigating high inflation and a slowing economy.

Read more: Seven ways you can pay less tax

The Dow Jones (^DJI) gained 0.33% to close at 34,302 points. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) advanced 0.40% to finish at 3,999 points and the tech-heavy NASDAQ (^IXIC) rose 0.71% to 11,079.

There is no trading this Monday in the US as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Watch: Daniel Niles predicts 'big slowdowns' in these tech stocks