London Markets: London stocks rise in shortened week as extended Christmas break looms
The last full trading session before an extended Christmas break for London was a positive one on Thursday, with the main stock index getting a lift from heavily weighted resource and banking sectors.
The FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.43% rose 0.4% to 7,373.20, in a week so far that has seen the index gain 1.4%. The pound GBPUSD, +0.41% rose 0.3% to $1.3420.
The London Stock Exchange will close for a half session on Friday, Christmas Eve and then not reopen again until Wednesday.
Investors are keeping watch on COVID developments in the U.K., which continues to see soaring cases and strain on its healthcare system. The U.K. government has hinted that restrictions could be coming after Christmas, with other parts of England already enforcing stricter measures.
Holiday travel may have been playing a part anyway in surging stocks, with gains from Wall Street also inspiring global equities on Thursday. Shares of International Consolidated Airlines IAG, +2.11% were up 3%, easyJet EZJ, +2.87% rose 4% and bus group National Express NEX, +3.63% saw a more than 4% gain. Wizz Air WIZZ, +2.01% climbed 3.6%.
Also helping out in London were rising energy names, with shares of BP BP, +1.23% BP, +0.97% and Royal Dutch Shell RDS.A, +1.18% RDSA, +1.09% climbing more than 2% each. Miners also pitched in with gains, as Rio Tinto RIO, +0.59% RIO, +0.21%, Glencore GLEN, +0.71% and BHP BHP, +1.47% rose more than 1% each.