FTSE slumps on strong pound and mixed retail results on Super Thursday

It was a mixed day on 'Super Thursday' as a deluge of retail trading updates hit the market.

The blue chip index was flat after achieving its longest winning streak in its 33-year history, according to Reuters.

A 0.3% rally in the pound against the dollar to $1.22 also affected the FTSE 100's many overseas earners. Oil prices were close to 2017 highs.

Gold glittered at $1,204 per ounce and copper retreated to $5,732 per tonne.

In the US, the S&P 500 closed 0.3% higher at 2,275 and the Dow Jones index was 0.5% higher at 19,954.

Trump's wildly unpredictable speech on Wednesday affected market sentiment - in particular to the pharmaceutical sector.

RETAIL WINNERS

Marks & Spencer (MKS), which was behind the 'Mrs Claus' Christmas campaign, beat forecasts for Christmas trading as it reported its first quarterly rise in underlying clothing and homeware sales in nearly two years.

Online fashion retailer ASOS (ASC) planned to accelerate its infrastructure investment on expectations that its sales will rise by nearly 30% this year following fantastic festive trading.

Department store chain Debenhams (DEB) enjoyed a 5% rise in like-for-like sales in the seven-week Christmas period. Investors were encouraged by plans to sell more beauty and gift products rather than clothing, as this is one of the most competitive divisions in retail.

Superdry brand owner SuperGroup (SGP) posted a more than a 30% rise in revenue from £254.7m to £334m.

Pram pusher Mothercare (MTC) returned to sales growth in its third-quarter in the UK, which was supported by a rise in online orders.

RETAIL LOSERS

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco (TSCO) capped a year of recovery on 0.7% rise in underlying Christmas sales in its home market. It was a solid performance over the key festive period, but less upbeat compared to Sainsburys (SBRY) and Morrisons (MRW) earlier this week.

Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said total sales at the discount fashion store climbed 11% in the 16-week Christmas period as it stuck to its forecast to make progress in group annual operating profit. The market honed into flat like-for-like sales due to slower growth in Germany and the Netherlands, which concerned investors.

Furniture retailer Dunelm (DNLM) reported like-for-like sales for the second quarter improved 0.2% on higher seasonal and online sales. The stock retreated 4.6% to 760p.

Online electrical business AO World's (AO.) UK business experienced slower growth in its UK business with ao.com revenue up 10.3% year-on-year and overall UK revenue up 8.9%. Investors were unforgiving, marking the stock 8% lower.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (BDEV) suffered a year-on-year drop in the number of homes built in the second half of 2016 as it completed fewer properties in London.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

Recruiter Hays (HAS) reported higher quarterly net fees on Thursday helped by growth in continental Europe and Asia Pacific. The shares nudged higher although there will be some concern over tough conditions in Britain.

Media reports that Bovis (BVS) allegedly paid incentives to persuade buyers to move into unfinished homes hit the stock by 2.8%.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Insurance manager STM's (STM) pricing strategy paid off as it expects an increased level of recurring revenue over the next few years. The news triggered a share price rally of 28% to 48.6p.

AIM-listed Greatland Gold (GGP) identified two large zones of gold mineralisation at its Ernest Giles project in Australia.

North Sea-focused oil producer Premier Oil (PMO) said full-year revenue slipped 10% year-on-year in preliminary results, despite production levels hitting an upgraded target.

Oil and gas company Mayan Energy (MYN) plummeted nearly 30% as its Shoats Creek well struggled due to a blockage, which stunted gas production.

Delays at a key project operated by Tertiary Minerals (TYM) and the need for project acquisitions dragged its share price 22.7% lower.