- Real estate, housing stocks buoy markets
- Debenhams drops after gloomy Christmas update
- FTSE 100 up 14.4 per cent in 2013
- US data in focus later on
techMARK 2,781.28 -0.02%
FTSE 100 6,749.09 +0.26%
FTSE 250 15,935.35 +0.22%
Stocks finished moderately higher in a shortened session on Tuesday as strength in the real estate and housing sectors helped to offset weakness among retailers after a gloomy trading update from Debenhams.
The FTSE 100, which closed at 12:30, finished 17.82 points higher at 6,749.09. It was a decent end to 2013 for the benchmark index, rising nearly 5% in the last two and a half weeks alone to extend the annual gain to 14.4%.
"It's not unusual for trading volumes to take a hit at this time of year, as traders spend time with their families instead of in front of their desk. There's also a severe lack of catalysts for the markets, with the economic calendar offering us very little and the start of corporate earnings season just under a couple of weeks away," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Several markets across Europe were enjoying a half-day on Tuesday as traders head off early for their New Year's Eve celebrations ahead of a bank holiday tomorrow. Germany's DAX and Italy's FTSE MIB, meanwhile, were closed for the whole day.
No major economic data was released in Europe today, though a raft of US indicators will keep Wall Street traders busy later on, including the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index, Chicago PMI and consumer confidence figures. US stock futures were pointing to a flat to slightly higher start in New York this afternoon.
Debenhams fails to spread Christmas cheer
The share price of Debenhams dropped sharply after the department store group warned that its bottom line would be hit by falling margins in the first half. The company is now guiding to a pre-tax profit of just £85m for the six months ending March 2nd, down 26% year-on-year and well below analysts' estimates.
Debenhams said it didn't experience the "anticipated final surge in sales" in the key week before Christmas and has had to make additional markdowns to clear stock in January and February. Next which is due to update the market on recent trading on Thursday, quickly erased early gains to trade lower after the Debenhams statement.
Other retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Kingfisher, Sainsbury and WH Smith were also firmly out of favour.
Leading the upside were housing and real estate stocks with Persimmon, Hammerson, Land Securities and British Land making gains on the FTSE 100, after the Land Registry said that house prices in England and Wales were up 0.1% month-on-month and 3.2% year-on-year in November.
Second-tier peers Regus, Countrywide, Berkeley, Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey also headed higher this morning.
Vedanta Resources fell after saying that it has extended the employment contract of its Chief Executive Mahendra Singh Mehta by a further three months to give the board more time to find his successor.
Mining peers Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore Xstrata were also registering losses.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 500.00p +3.05%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 963.50p +1.85%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,239.00p +1.72%
Rexam (REX) 530.50p +1.63%
British Land Co (BLND) 629.00p +1.37%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,872.00p +1.30%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,355.00p +1.27%
Hammerson (HMSO) 502.00p +1.27%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,536.00p +1.25%
ITV (ITV) 194.00p +1.25%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 432.60p -2.28%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 365.00p -1.64%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,320.00p -1.38%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 824.00p -1.20%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 312.70p -1.15%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 261.00p -1.02%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,445.00p -1.01%
Royal Mail (RMG) 570.00p -0.96%
Old Mutual (OML) 189.10p -0.73%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,574.50p -0.71%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,656.00p +4.73%
Countrywide (CWD) 595.00p +4.48%
Regus (RGU) 217.20p +4.02%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 344.80p +3.92%
888 Holdings (888) 172.50p +3.17%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 103.80p +3.08%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,740.00p +2.89%
Derwent London (DLN) 2,495.00p +2.30%
Redrow (RDW) 312.00p +2.03%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 349.00p +1.93%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Debenhams (DEB) 73.00p -12.21%
PayPoint (PAY) 1,011.00p -4.89%
RPS Group (RPS) 335.70p -3.98%
Diploma (DPLM) 675.00p -3.43%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 900.00p -2.81%
NMC Health (NMC) 438.10p -2.64%
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 177.90p -2.31%
Electra Private Equity (ELTA) 2,380.00p -2.14%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,350.00p -2.03%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,945.00p -2.02%