FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: Retailers help keep Santa rally alive

Tesco rallied back from recent lows. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Tesco rallied back from recent lows. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Good news from the high street helped the FTSE 100 bounce gain momentum as the index returned from its worst week in three years by notching up its best.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “The FTSE spent much of the day flat, until a late afternoon rally from oil dragged the UK index higher. Due to a mixture of resurgent energy companies like Afren and Tullow Oil, and the best, Black Friday-inspired, UK sales month for 27 years, the FTSE firmly put its recent woes behind it for an emphatic close to the week.”

London’s top-flight is up 3.9 per cent since Monday, adding £62 billion to the value of its constituent companies – although that is still only a partial recovery from the 6.6 per cent fall the week before. Friday it added 79.27 points to close at 6,545.27.

Tullow was the biggest riser, up almost 7 per cent at 424.2p as analysts suggested some of the recent selling was leaving bargains on the table. BP was up 2.6 per cent at 413p as the oil price recovered a little, which some put down to the covering of short positions.

The retail figures gave a lift to high street bellwether Marks & Spencer, which lifted 3 per cent or 13.5p to 476p. The supermarkets also benefited, with Morrisons up nearly 4 per cent to 176.2p and Sainsbury’s was 2 per cent higher at 239.8p.

Beleaguered Tesco – battered by profit warnings and an accounting scandal – rallied back from recent lows close to 150p and was one of the best blue-chip performers. Shares added 9.6p to 185.4p, still more than 40 per cent off its value a year ago.

Broadcaster Sky was among the losers, down 11p to 889p after comments from regulator Ofcom suggested it was not minded to change certain rules the company has complained about.