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House prices at new high | FTSE 100 edges lower
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5pm: London softens at close
There was little enthusiasm among market traders to build on yesterday’s 22-month high for the FTSE 100 which closed 0.2% lower at 7,403.01, as investors continued to consider the implications of the Omicron variant and better US data.
US jobless claims came in at 198,000 for the week to 25 December, below expectations of 208,000 but still encouraging.
In the UK, the latest survey from mortgage lender Nationwide showed that house prices recorded a bigger-than-expected rise in December and marked their strongest year since 2006, but there could be a cooling next year.
House prices this month were up 10.4% year-on-year and the average price of a property stood at record high of £254,822.
Shares in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) flatlined amid reports the airline had scrapped flights to Hong Kong until March.
Bloomberg reported that the operator will temporarily suspend services in the region as the territory tightens air crew quarantine restrictions to contain the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Shares in IAG moved just 0.02p higher to 143.48p at the close of play.
Oil saw its rebound lose a bit of momentum, with Brent crude down by 0.11% to $79.14 per barrel when the London markets closed.
8.15am: London opens lower
The FTSE 100 opened the last full-day session of the year slightly lower, down 9.45 points at 7,411.24.
7am: House prices hit record
House prices across the UK ended 2021 at a record high, with annual price growth in double digits.
Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Annual house price growth remained in double digits in December, making 2021 the strongest calendar year performance since 2006.”
In December, house prices saw a 10.4% increase on a year before, accelerating from 10.0% annual growth in November.
On the month before, prices were up 1%, increasing slightly from November’s 0.9% rise.
The average house prices was £254,822 in December compared to £252,687 in November.
Brent oil was quoted at $79.08 a barrel this morning, up from $78.22 at Wednesday’s equities close in London.
The pound was quoted at $1.3475 early today, unchanged from the close of London equities on Wednesday.
US indices hit a new high yesterday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 90 points and the S&P 500 was 7 points higher.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo fell 115 points while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng was 16 points stronger.