THE period between Christmas and New Year traditionally sees a low volume of trading and Thursday was no different as investors remained distracted by turkey leftovers and bargain hunting in the sales.
The FTSE 100 Index endured an extremely quiet day as a result, moving up only 0.1 points to 5954.3. With the high streets of Britain having had a tough time over the last few years, the success of the customary Boxing Day rush to the shops took on an added importance. Economists will be looking for encouragement in the Christmas figures soon to be released by retailers as the demise of Comet and others remains fresh in the memory.
British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: “Overall, Christmas hasn't been a boom time for UK retailers but it hasn't been complete doom and gloom either. There are big variations in individual retail performances but, when the final sums are done, total spending is likely to be up modestly on last year though only broadly in line with shop price inflation.”
Despite the low volume of trading, steel producer Evraz featured on the FTSE leader board with a 2% increase in its share price to 259.4p following news it had received clearance to take control of leading Russian coal company OJSC Raspadskaya. On its first full day of trading in the index, TUI Travel rose slightly to 286.3p.
Diageo was one of the biggest fallers with a 1% drop to 1809p, the drop coming after the drinks company's share price reached an all- time high earlier in the month.
There was no news from the North Index with many share prices remaining little changed. Tanfield saw the biggest shift with a 5.3% fall, the latest sizeable move in a volatile year that has seen the aerial work platforms manufacturer's share price drop by over 30% since last Christmas. Its share price closed at 26.75p.