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FTSE 100 closes at record high on first trading day after Christmas | City & Business | Finance

It is the second such record in nearly a week, having pushed above the 7,600 mark for the first time last Thursday to reach 7,603.98 points.

That upward trend continued on Wednesday, when London’s blue chip index rose 0.37% or 28.02 points to close at 7,620.68 points.

Stocks usually extend their gains in the final trading days of December in what is often referred to as a “Santa rally”.

The phenomenon has been chalked up to factors including lower trading volumes and bargain hunting ahead of an anticipated rise in stock prices at the start of January.

A 28 percent jump for IWG after the serviced office provider confirmed a takeover approach boosted British stocks.

Investors cheered the news that IWG had received an all-cash approach from Canadian private equity firm Onex and Brookfield Asset Management.

The approach marks the latest venture by a foreign acquirer into British mid-caps, with deal prices having dropped because of the pound’s depreciation.

A profit warning that prompted a 7 percent share price tumble in October made IWG all the more attractively priced for a potential suitor. The stock was down 18 percent for the year at Friday’s close.

The mid cap index also surged to a new record high, boosted by IWG’s rally. It rose 0.78 percent.

Miners Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton delivered the biggest boost to the blue-chip index, rising by 1.4 to 2.1 percent as metals prices hovered near the 3-1/2 year highs they hit on a strong Chinese growth outlook.

Mid-cap miners Acacia Mining and Hochschild also made strong gains.

Gold producers Fresnillo and Randgold Resources were among the top FTSE gainers, lifted by a rise in gold prices as the dollar softened.

Liquidity remained thin as holidays kept investors away from trading desks.

Tullow Oil gained 2.4 percent as oil prices stayed high, fresh from a rally that sent U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude above $60 for the first time since mid-2015.

Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.4 percent, boosted by the higher crude prices and the oil major’s assertion that the recently enacted U.S. tax reform would have a favourable impact on operations.

Shell became the latest in a string of European companies to forecast a beneficial impact from the U.S. tax overhaul, which includes a cut to the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

Barclays shares rose 0.3 percent despite the bank saying it expects to take a writedown of about 1 billion pounds ($1.34 billion) on its annual post-tax profit as a result of the tax reform.

The FTSE 100’s European counterparts also ended the day higher, with the French Cac 40 and German Dax up around 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

Sterling ended the day mixed, rising nearly 0.2% against the US dollar to trade at 1.339, but falling more than 0.1% versus the euro to 1.125.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 1.4% to around 66.35 US dollars per barrel.

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