Santa rally pushes FTSE 100 to record high

The FTSE 100 pushed to a record high on Thursday in a move that traders have chalked up to the so-called year-end "Santa rally".

London's blue chip index ended the day up 1.05% or 78.76p at 7,603.98 having pushed past the 7,600 mark for the first time.

The last time that the FTSE 100 hit a record high was in early November when it hit 7,562.28 points.

The jump has been credited to a market phenomenon called the Santa rally, referring to a surge in stock prices during the final weeks of December that is often linked to investments of Christmas bonuses as well as anticipation of a further rise in prices at the turn of the new year.

David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "The FTSE 100 is the standout performer in Europe as it reached a fresh all-time high.

"The market has cleared the 7600 mark, for the first time ever. Since consumer goods like Reckitt Benckiser, Diageo and Tesco are some of the biggest risers on the day, the Santa rally is certainly under way."

The UK market outperformed European peers including the French Cac 40 and German Dax which ended the day up 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively.

In currency markets, the pound was relatively flat, trading lower by 0.3% versus the US dollar at 1.337 and 0.2% lower against the euro at 1.126.

Brent crude prices were edging higher by 0.15% at 64.56 US dollars per barrel, with gains muted by news that the North Sea Forties pipeline was set to come back online in the new year after being shut down for repair earlier this month.