Another record close
Shares rise as Carney calms nerves over Brexit
The FTSE 100 closed 15.02 points, or 0.21%, higher at 7,290.49, having peaked at 7,328.51.
Shares rose after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Brexit is no longer the most significant domestic risk to the UK’s financial stability.
He also revealed that the bank is keeping an open-mind over potential interest rate hikes while at the same time reiterating that it is willing to pull back on stimulus if needed.
His comments failed to have much impact on the pound with it falling 0.07% against the euro at €1.1529 and declining 0.75% against the dollar to $1.2086.
Sterling was dragged lower after data showed the UK trade deficit widened in November because of a surge in imports.
The overall trade deficit grew £2.6 billion to £4.2bn by the end of November, the Office for National Statistics said, as a £3.3bn increase in imports was only partially offset by a £700 million increase in exports.
The ONS also revealed that UK industrial production rebounded but that construction output unexpectedly fell in November.
Seasonally adjusted construction output declined 0.2% on the previous month, extending the 0.6% fall in October when the market had expected a bounce back of 0.2%.
In company news, Sainsbury’s was a top riser on positive third-quarter like-for-like grocery sales and a lift from recently-acquired Argos as online sales proved a crucial factor over the festive period.
Mining giant Anglo American was a strong gainer, up 3.8%, while retailer Dixons Carphone gained 3.6%.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey reported a 4% jump in home completions last year, to 13,881. It said customers continued to “benefit from a wide range of mortgage products and low interest rates with customer confidence remaining robust”. Its shares fell 2.5%.