FTSE 100 Live: Marks & Spencer pleased with festive sales, Tesco ups profits guidance

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Arks & Spencer and Tesco added their names today to the list of big retailers reporting strong Christmas business.

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M&S boss Steve Rowe said the festive period was strong for the chain as it grew clothing and home sales for the second quarter in a row and the food division kept up with its recent momentum.

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Tesco said the increase in market share in the UK meant retail operating profit for the year would be slightly higher than its current £2.6 billion guidance. There are updates today from Halfords and ASOS as well as Persimmons in the housebuilding sector.

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FTSE 100 gains, US dollar at one-month low

The London market is gearing up for a session of consolidation after the FTSE 100 index rose over 60 points yesterday to close at its highest level since January 2020.

The rally came after US inflation data showed the consumer price index hit an annualized rate of 7% in December, a level not seen since the summer of 1982.

The release was in line with expectations and came hours after a larger-than-expected figure for China’s par, giving investors hope that global inflationary pressures are starting to ease.

London-listed commodity stocks benefited the most from this economic optimism as the FTSE 100 index closed at 7551 to continue a strong start to 2022.

US markets had a more sluggish session as attention turned to the upcoming earnings season, which began on Friday with results for several banks.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said the sentiment for the correction is very much attributable to Tuesday’s comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who said shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet like this would not be destabilizing.

Hewson said: “It remains to be seen how long this line will last due to rising prices, and calls from Fed officials that perhaps we could see four rate hikes this year and not three as previously directed. “

Following this week’s developments, the US dollar weakened to a one-month low, with sterling now trading at 1.37 versus the greenback. Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 index is expected to open four points lower at 7547.

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