Britain’s benchmark share index rose for a fourth straight session as chip developer ARM was boosted by the prospect of more orders from Apple after its deal with China Mobile, while optimism about US growth helped buoy sentiment in the wider market.
The FTSE 100 closed up 72.03 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 6,678.61, posting its fourth day of gains and its longest winning streak since October. Germany’s Dax share index rose by almost 1 per cent.
Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at IG, said: “Volumes may be thin, but sentiment is upbeat. A short trading day [on Christmas Eve] could see even weaker volumes, and this can often allow markets to drift upwards without any real reason.”
But the festive cheer was subdued among the retail sector, where a number of high-profile stocks have fallen recently on fears that the sector could be left with a profits hangover after heavy discounting.
Marks & Spencer, which reduced prices by 30 per cent over the weekend, initially headed downwards though amid the buoyant wider market shares ended 2.1p up at 447.1p.
On a shortened fallers’ board, Sports Direct International dipped 0.5p to 717.5p. Outside the top flight, Carphone Warehouse fell 6.4p to 271.6p, a drop of 2 per cent.
ARM was the biggest riser in the top flight after tech giant Apple reached a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile. ARM shares jumped nearly 4 per cent, up 42p to 1,110p, as its technology helps power Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
There was a disappointing debut for Royal Mail as a top flight company. Shares were 11p lower at 580p on its first day in the FTSE 100, though the stock remains more than 75 per cent higher than its flotation price of 330p in October.