Cheers: FTSE closes after festive rally to end 0.18 per cent higher

Emma Haslett
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The Santa rally started early this year, but reversed recent losses (Source: Getty)

The FTSE 100 ended the festive period comfortably above 6,600 today, at 6,609.93, 0.18 per cent up on last night's close.

It's a decent (nearly) end to the year for the FTSE, which has gained more than 400 points in recent days as markets rallied in time for the festive period.

The Santa rally started earlier than usual this year, with gains made pretty much every day since 14 December. However, weak growth figures yesterday caused the market to lose pace, closing at 6,592.5.

Although the UK's economy has shown signs of strong recovery this year, the FTSE has actually fallen 2.2 per cent since the start of the year.

Some of the biggest fallers have been the UK's oil companies, which have been hit hard by the recent fall in oil prices. As the price of Brent Crude sank below first $100, then $90, $80 and finally $70, North Sea oil producers in particular were affected.

Earlier this week it was reported that producers were considering abandoning $27bn worth of planned developments in the North Sea, with some producers concerned projects would begin to lose money.

Here's how some of the UK's largest North Sea oil producers fared over the year:

And after rapid gains last year, this year was a mixed bag for the UK's major housebuilders. Although some continued to benefit from a housing market rejuvenated by the government's Help To Buy scheme, shares did sink temporarily during the middle of the year, when the effects of the Bank of England's "cooling measures" began to take effect.

IG's Chris Beauchamp suggested that when the market re-opens on 29 December, it is likely to reflect movements in the US.

Last night’s record highs in the US were greeted with cheers, but Dow watchers should be concerned that the Transportation index is still lagging behind, providing one sour note in an otherwise cheery prospect for year end. Light volumes should provide an opportunity for another push higher, as the prospect of a third day of record highs is too tempting to pass up, especially given the shortened session in the US. Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow to open around 20 points higher, at 18,042.

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