Markets: Footsie closes with meagre gain

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London’s blue-chip share index struggled to make headway yesterday as markets trod water ahead of profits updates from a raft of Wall Street giants.

The FTSE 100 index – which hit its highest level for more than four years in intraday trading on Monday – edged up 9.5 points to close at 6,117.3.

Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “The new year rally appears to have stalled over the past couple of days, as both optimists and pessimists cast around for news.”

Among stocks, upmarket fashion label Burberry was the biggest riser in the top flight after its latest sales figures comfortably beat City forecasts. The share price rally of 5 per cent, or 61p, to 1,386p means the stock is now back at levels seen before a slump in September caused by fears over demand from big-spending customers in China.

Chip designer Arm Holdings was one of the biggest top-flight fallers after broker Morgan Stanley cooled expectations for further strong growth in the share price. It fell 32p to 841p, with poor order numbers from US customer Apple on Monday also weighing on Arm.

In the FTSE-250, shares in grocery delivery chain Ocado were 0.4p higher at 84.5p after it posted a 14 per cent rise in sales for the six weeks to 6 January.

Analysts were relieved at the performance after supermarket giants including Tesco stepped up their internet operations with “click-and-collect” services over Christmas.

Shares in oil minnow Bridge Energy dipped 4p to 105p after the Cormorant East well in the North Sea, in which Bridge holds a stake, saw production shut down due to a possible leak at a neighbouring platform.

The news came just a day after Cormorant East’s operator beat a UK record by delivering first oil just 85 days after the discovery was made.

NEW YORK: On Wall Street, the three major indices were mixed after a lacklustre session.

Better-than-expected festive season performances from retailers added some momentum, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average nudged 27.57 points higher to close at 13,534.89.

In the broader market, the S&P 500 gained 0.11 per cent, but the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.22 per cent as Apple weighed again.