THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: US deflation reading boosts equities

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The London market was again given a late boost from across the Atlantic yesterday, helping propel the FTSE 100 to a new all-time closing high.

After comments from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen helped it breach its 15-year-old record earlier this week, the Footsie returned to those levels as it added 14.35 points to 6,949.73.

Tony Cross, market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Economic data has been thin on the ground at least in the UK, but what’s arguably driven positive sentiment in the latter part of the day has been that news of negative inflation from across the Atlantic. Once again this adds weight to the dovish stance we’ve seen the Fed adopt when it comes to monetary policy.”

Royal Bank of Scotland dominated the corporate agenda after it posted its seventh consecutive year of losses and warned of substantial jobs cuts. The lender’s statutory deficit hit £3.5 billion and though shares initially consolidated at their three-year high above 400p they ended up slipping 4 per cent or 16.7p to 386.6p.

Morrisons continued to do well – up almost 2 per cent or 3.4p to 196.3p – following the supermarket’s appointment of former Tesco director David Potts on Wednesday.

Ladbrokes said its profits were 13.5 per cent lower at £98 million in 2014 after a strong World Cup performance was offset by an “exceptionally high” loss of £8.1m on Boxing Day football when leading Premier League teams secured victories.

But traders were happy that it intends to maintain its dividend next year, sending shares up 6.8p to 121p.

Domino’s Pizza was a big riser in the FTSE 250 after it reported a large jump in annual profits and said it was upbeat about its prospects for the coming year. Shares were 37.5p higher at 730p, a gain of 5 per cent.