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London stocks move higher again after tech and retail gains

Tech and consumer retail stocks led the way as London stocks picked up where they left off on Friday with modest gains.

European tech stocks were boosted by positivity in Silicon Valley while traders were also more broadly upbeat amid upward pressure on oil and gas prices helping support oil and commodity firms.

The FTSE 100 finished the day up 14.08 points, or 0.18%, at 7,784.67.

The Dax improved 0.46% by the end of the session, and the French Cac finished 0.52% higher

Joshua Mahoney, senior market analyst at IG, said: “European markets have enjoyed a largely positive start to the week, with the recent jitters fading thanks to a largely slow day.

“With the Fed hoping to engineer a soft landing, this week sees traders gauge the possibility of such an event, and whether it will come via a swift end to the current monetary tightening phase.

“Tech stocks remain in the limelight today, with the Nasdaq outperforming as Spotify announce jobs cuts and Microsoft pledged to invest billions in the ‘google-killer’ OpenAI.”

The US markets were broadly higher on the opening bell as a result of the tech bounce, having seen valuations for fast-growing tech firms come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, sterling started off on the front foot but sank during the session amid trepidation as to whether the Bank of England is still likely to confirm a 0.5 percentage point increase to interest rates next week.

The pound was down 0.24% against the dollar at 1.236 and was 0.31% lower against the euro at 1.137 at the close.

In company news, shares in pub owner Fuller’s slipped after its warning over annual earnings as train strikes left it nursing a sales hit of around £4 million and impacted its festive trading.

The group said sales in the four weeks over Christmas and new year fell 5% compared with the same period in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

Fuller’s saw its stock slide by 19p to 475p during the session as a result.

Cinema group Everyman made strong gains after it revealed rocketing profits despite a slowdown in film production over the past year resulting in fewer film releases.

The company closed 7.5p higher at 93.5p as it said earnings were ahead of market expectations in the year to December 29.

Elsewhere, winemaker Chapel Down finished higher after reporting that sales grew by a tenth last year due to higher demand for English sparkling wine. Shares closed up 1.5p at 39.5p.

The price of oil continued its recent rally amid continued positivity around China as Chinese New Year celebrations get under way.

Brent crude oil increased by 1.42% to 88.87 US dollars (£71.81) per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 27.8p to 735.6p, AB Foods, up 43p to 1,869.5p, RS Group, up 19.5p to 950p, Antofagasta, up 30.5p to 1,760.5p, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 12.6p to 746.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, down 45p to 871.4p, Endeavour Mining, down 51p to 1,929p, St James’s Place, down 27p to 1,208p, London Stock Exchange, down 162p to 7,328p, and Informa, down 10p to 654.8p.