UK shares pushed up by strength elsewhere
STRENGTH in gilts and continental bourses helped push UK shares higher on Friday, though the market was trading below its best levels ahead of Wall Street's truncated post-Thanksgiving session.
The FTSE 100 was up 7,8 points at 4,058, with gainers in a five-to-four majority. Barclays led the market higher on renewed buyback hopes while Kingfisher, Argos and GUS rose on strong consumer demand ahead of Christmas.
Traders said activity had been subdued as the market was lacking its usual lead from New York but strong gilts, bonds and rising continental shares had driven the FTSE higher.
"The US is open but only for a half-day and we are trading higher on the back of the bond markets," said the head of equity trading at one leading brokerage.
Traders said Friday's rise in leading stock markets was driven by a stronger dollar sparking renewed hopes for lower interest rates in continental Europe. Gilts and German government bonds lent support.
Germany's Dax leapt to a record high for a second day, after comments from a Bank of France official in favour of a stronger dollar, hinting that European interest rates may have to fall.
Yet the FTSE underperformed other markets, as the strength of sterling - which reached a 33-month high against the mark -- weighed down on the export prospects of major international stocks.
Trading volumes were modest with 564-million shares changing hands. - Reuter