FTSE 100 closes at fresh record high after Christmas break

The FTSE 100 has closed at a fresh record high on its first trading day after the Christmas break.

It is the second such record in nearly a week, having pushed above the 7,600 mark for the first time last Thursday to reach 7,603.98 points.

That upward trend continued on Wednesday, when London's blue chip index rose 0.37% or 28.02 points to close at 7,620.68 points.

Stocks usually extend their gains in the final trading days of December in what is often referred to as a "Santa rally".

The phenomenon has been chalked up to factors including lower trading volumes and bargain hunting ahead of an anticipated rise in stock prices at the start of January.

The FTSE 100's European counterparts also ended the day higher, with the French Cac 40 and German Dax up around 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

Sterling ended the day mixed, rising nearly 0.2% against the US dollar to trade at 1.339, but falling more than 0.1% versus the euro to 1.125.

In oil markets, Brent crude prices rose 1.4% to around 66.35 US dollars per barrel.