Britain's FTSE 100
blue-chip index hit fresh record highs on Tuesday, boosted by
gains among retailers, while a rally in mining stocks more than
offset weaker financials, helping European shares end slightly
in positive territory.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index inched up 0.1
percent, while the FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent after
hitting a new all-time high of 7,284.81 points. France's CAC 40
was flat and Germany's DAX added 0.2 percent.
Retail was heavily in focus. Morrisons was among the
top gainers in London after Christmas trading results exceeded
expectations. Its shares ended up 3.6 percent in heavy volumes.
Britain's largest retailer, Tesco, rose 6 percent
after market research showed it had the fastest sales growth of
the country's four major players.
Metro underperformed its UK peers with a flat
close after the German discount retailer reported sluggish
Mining and metal stocks were the top performers, up
3.3 percent, extending their recent gains. The top risers were
Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton
, which tracked the price of copper higher.
NOT FAST ENOUGH
The fast food delivery company Just Eat was the top
faller on the STOXX, down 6.9 percent, after reporting full-year
order growth of 42 percent but failing to beat its estimates.
"With a stock trading on such a lofty valuation, the market
has grown to expect the company to exceed its estimates, so
there's a little bit of disappointment," said Michael Stewart,
analyst at Panmure Gordon Equities.
"It highlights the expectation that these companies can go
on upgrading forever. We believe the investment case is intact,
especially if the acquisition of Hungry House goes ahead."
The insurance and banking sectoral indexes
fell 0.6 percent and 0.1 percent respectively, with Commerzbank
down 0.7 percent on a UBS downgrade to "sell", and
Deutsche Bank down 2.4 percent.
In Lisbon, Banco Commercial Portugues fell 11.3
percent to a fresh record low after the bank approved a heavily
dilutive 1.3-billion-euros cash call to boost its capital
Spain's Banco Popular led the Madrid IBEX
lower, falling 2.7 percent.