Upbeat retail data and weak pound boosts FTSE

After a run of closing all-time highs, the blue chip index continued to move higher and gained 0.2% to 7,251. A weak pound against the dollar and a rally by retail stocks on positive independent data helped to keep the FTSE 100's upward momentum.

Retail stocks were boosted by the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) report of a strong Christmas week, which encouraged spending growth in December and World Kantar figures.

Kantar Worldpanel revealed the fastest recorded growth by supermarkets since June 2014, while the market returned to inflation in the three months to January.

Tesco (TSCO) jumped 4.3% and Sainsburys (SBRY) nudged 1.6% higher.

West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil slid 0.3% higher to $52 and $55 per barrel, respectively.

Gold was flat at $1,182 per ounce while copper climbed 1.2% to $5,643 per tonne.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Supermarket Morrisons (MRW) made fresh gains of 3.7% on a strong 2.9% growth in like-for-like sales (excluding fuel) for the nine weeks to 1 January. It was the strongest Christmas performance for seven years, leading CEO David Potts to upgrade full year profit before tax guidance.

Distribution group Bunzl (BNZL) acquired two further businesses in the UK and the US, Woodway and the business of Packaging Film Sales.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Online takeaway service Just Eat (JE.) was stale at 547p on a lack of annual upgrades. Investors overlooked order growth of 42% in its full year trading update.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Independent oil and gas firm Serica Energy (SQZ) was one of the biggest small cap risers following strong production in the UK North Sea Erskine field since August. It reported an average production of 3,150 barrels of oil equivalent per day, which beat its original guidance. The stock rallied 21.9% to 19.6p.

Investors were eager to buy into software business CloudCall (CALL) on its latest trading update, which revealed it expects revenue growth of 50% over the prior year to £4.9m. The stock rocketed 21% to 78p.

Shares in cloud solutions provider K3 (KBT) plummeted by 21.6% on a profit warning after weak Christmas trading. The company wanted that EBITDA will be £3.5m lower than anticipated as softening market conditions hit sales.

The market was frustrated with Roxi Petroleum's (RXP) announcement that it may have to re-punch a hole in Deep Well A6's cement liner to allow a flow test.

Wine retailer Majestic Wine (WINE) rose 5.2% on news its Majestic Retail business enjoyed its biggest ever Christmas with like-for-like sales fizzing 7.5%. Growth at online retailer Naked Wines accelerated since the half year as all markets showed improved momentum.

Newspaper group Trinity Mirror (TNI) confirmed it is in early discussions about taking a minority interest in a new company comprising certain Northern & Shell assets.

Online fashion retailer Boohoo.com (BOO) unveiled strong trading across all regions in the four months to December. Boohoo upgraded sales growth expectations (excluding the recent acquisition of PrettyLittleThing) for the year to 28 February again.

Comparison site GoCompare.com (GOCO) was 8.9% higher on full year results that showed adjusted operating profits up 30% to £30m, which was at the top end of guidance after its split from parent Esure (ESUR).

Shares in Tile specialist Topps Tiles (TPT) were in the red after like-for-like sales retreated 0.3% on an underlying basis for the first quarter.

Oil and gas exploration company Northern Petroleum (NOP) raised £752,500 by allowing investors to purchase shares at a discount.

The market was relieved after the US Customs and Border Protection released stevia ingredients producer PureCircle's (PURE) shipments.