Santa comes early for the stock market

TRADERS received some festive cheer yesterday as the FTSE 100 continued its pre-Christmas gains to close just below its 2012 high.

“The Santa rally is in full flight as markets hit their highs,” declared Matt Basi of CMC Markets, as investors celebrated the traditional end-of-year gains.

London’s leading share index is up 0.7 per cent this week and finished yesterday at 5,961. This is just four points below the year’s highest closing mark and – with just two and a half trading days left before Christmas – investors will hope that it can break the milestone before the year ends.

Irish building materials firm CRH posted the biggest rise, with its shares up 4.9 per cent. London’s second tier FTSE 250 index yesterday added to the yuletide goodwill by closing at an all-time high of 12,402.

“Santa has returned to the markets, bringing some much needed cheer before the Christmas break,” said Ishaq Siddiqi at ETX Capital. “Traders are feeling risky as such, picking up euros, stocks, oil and even gold but dumping core government bonds.”