The FTSE 100 posted a 12th consecutive higher close yesterday to set a record for the best run of successive gains since 1984. A depreciating pound has been a near constant support to the stock market during this period and yesterday the currency fell to its lowest level against the US dollar since October.
Resurgent pound to derail FTSE rally
Whilst the pound did trade down to its lowest level in three months against the US dollar yesterday there was a recovery in the evening session after Donald Trump’s bizarre press conference led to some weakness in the buck. There was nothing specific that the president-elect said to cause the softening of the US dollar - it was more a case of what he didn’t say. The comments related mainly to the recent scrutiny regarding Mr. Trump’s relationship with Russia and a failure to discuss any of the expected changes in fiscal policy, which was arguably the basis for the appreciation of the greenback since his election, has caused declines in the US dollar.
Gold prices hit 7-week high
The best performing stocks on London’s top share index this morning are Fresnillo and Randgold Resources with both benefitting from a resurgence in the price of Gold bullion. The precious metal has traded up to it’s highest level in seven weeks this morning as expectations for higher rates in the US are reigned in. Marks & Spencer is also rising today after announcing solid Christmas results. M&S has continued the recent run of good trading results amongst supermarkets this week with the firm reporting a 1.3% increase in like-for-like sales in the final trading quarter of last year. CEO Steve Rowe has declared himself pleased with the latest set of earnings and points out that the Clothing & Home sector has been the best performer in his commentary. The last 12 months have proven testing for shareholders, with the stock price falling by around a fifth but recent signs suggest better times are around the corner. The changes made by Mr. Rowe seem to be helping and with the supermarket sector as a whole enjoying buoyant Christmas trade there are several reasons for investors to feel quietly confident going forward.