A buoyant Christmas trading update from fashion chain Next ensured a solid session for retailers as the wider market also climbed further past the 6000 mark.
Next leapt to the top of the FTSE 100 Index risers board as shares rose 3% or 101p to 3873p 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 helped the FTSE 100 Index hold on to yesterday’s 2.2% surge, up another 20 points at 6047.3.
The top flight smashed through the 6000 barrier for the first time since July 2011 the previous session in a global shares rally after US politicians passed short-term measures to stave off devastating automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.
But there were signs of a fiscal cliff hangover across the Atlantic, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average opened lower after last night’s 2.3% hike.
After the initial euphoria of the budget agreement, investor attention has now turned to the next stage of talks, with the US still to resolve action on spending cuts and borrowing within two months.
Congress must soon vote to raise the amount that the country can borrow in order to avoid defaulting on loans.
Indices across Europe also steadied after yesterday’s sharp gains, with the Dax in Germany and Cac 40 in France both down 0.3%.
Disappointing UK construction data left the pound lower against most major currencies today.
The Markit/CIPS PMI report for December showed activity in the sector falling at its fastest rate for six months, dragged lower by a poor performance in the housebuilding sector.
Sterling fell to $1.61 and 1.23 euros.
The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Next up 101p to 3873p, BP ahead 10.4p to 441.7p, Tesco 7.25p higher at 350p and Aberdeen Asset Management up 7.7p to 383.2p.
The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were CRH down 17p to 1266p, Croda International off 31p to 2357p, Capital Shopping Centres 4.6p lower at 358.3p and Centrica down 4p to 336.8p.