- FTSE inches higher in light trading
- Hometrack data shows 4.4 per cent climb in 2013 house prices
- Government could sell stake in Lloyds, reports claim
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The FTSE 100 opened six points higher this morning, with gains driven by positive sentiment, limited news flow, and light trading volumes.
The rise was largely driven by miners, as had been the case in Friday's session, as investors digested positive data out from the US, the most recent of which was better-than-expected jobs data.
Back on this side of the Atlantic, house prices climbed 4.4% in 2013, data from Hometrack has showed. This compares positively to the 0.3% decline registered in 2012. Demand over the past 12 months rocketed 25%, compared to the number of homes for sale rising just six.
Director of Research, Richard Donnell, said: "Demand grew at the fastest rate for three years while the supply of homes for sale grew at the lowest level recorded over the 12 year history of the survey.
"Scarcity of supply was the result of higher sales volumes eroding the stock of homes for sale. The launch of Help to Buy was a clear sign of government support for the housing market which encouraged a sustained increase in buyer numbers, especially over the second half of the year. Record low mortgage rates also played an important role in higher prices over 2013."
In other news, a think tank has warned that as interest rates are increased millions of UK households will be hit with "perilous" levels of debt. The Resolution Foundation said: "Even if we take a somewhat rosy view of how the economy will develop over the next few years the number of households severely exposed to debt looks as though it will double."
It predicted that if rates are increased to 3%, those using over half their disposable incomes to repay debt could increase to 1.1m from 0.6m over the next four years.
Meanwhile, it has been reported the UK government could sell its 33 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group in 2014, sources told The Telegraph.
The government's holding, currently worth £18.4bn, is understood to be sold off within the next 12 months. It will be sold through a combination of institutional sales and a nationwide offering to the public.
In other company news, Al Noor Hospitals Group, the largest private healthcare service provider in Abu Dhabi, has acquired the Gulf International Cancer Centre (GICC), which offers a range of treatments in Oncology. The $21.8m purchase is part of the company's strategy to broaden its range of services and add new core competencies.
Nyota Minerals has completed the sale of a 75% stake in its Ethiopian subsidiary to KEFI Minerals. Nyota and KEFI are now joint venture partners in the business which owns the Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia.
Today is set to be another light day in terms of both trading and company news ahead of tomorrow's half day and Wednesday's Bank Holiday to mark the New Year.
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Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 320.25p +1.44%
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Tullow Oil (TLW) 860.50p +1.18%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,216.00p +1.16%
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Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,511.00p +1.00%
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Amec (AMEC) 1,089.00p +0.93%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
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International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 399.80p -0.65%
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Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 448.40p -0.40%
Schroders (SDR) 2,572.00p -0.35%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 660.10p -0.35%
BT Group (BT.A) 379.30p -0.34%
TUI Travel (TT.) 407.90p -0.34%
British Land Co (BLND) 623.50p -0.32%
Sage Group (SGE) 405.00p -0.30%
FTSE 250 - Risers
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Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 172.90p +2.92%
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Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 318.30p +1.95%
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Telecity Group (TCY) 713.50p +1.78%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 12 +1.69%
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UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 323.10p -2.18%
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