Brits are going shopping again but not everyone on the high street is feeling the benefit.
Figures for January from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) yesterday showed the best growth in consumer spending since March 2010. Sports Direct, up 23p to 708p, Debenhams, 3.8p to 77.7p, and Marks & Spencer, 15.3p to 485.6p, were among those to gain. Also given a lift were the B&Q owner Kingfisher, up 11.7p to 376.8p, and the Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group, which rose 9.6p to 190.4p.
But supermarkets had a torrid time. The BRC numbers showed a fall in sales at food outlets, while a report from Kantor Worldpanel found that grocery market growth was slowing. J Sainsbury checked out 7.3p to 348.9p, Tesco slipped 5p to 318.7p and WM Morrison fell by 3.1p to 237.2p.
With gold and silver prices still on the up, Fresnillo and Randgold Resources had a second day of big gains. Fresnillo dug up 49p to 911.5p, while Randgold added 175p to reach 4,705p.
Investors got behind the board shake-up at catalytic converter maker Johnson Matthey. The company named the former BG Group executive Den Jones as its new finance chief yesterday, following the news last month that long-serving chief Neil Carson was leaving. Johnson Matthey revved up 102p to 3,280p.
Barclays was in the doghouse after reporting fourth-quarter numbers that made for "uncomfortable reading", according to Ishaq Siddiqi at ETX Capital. The bank trailed the blue-chip index, down 10.3p to 264.7p.
The benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 76.47 points at 6,668.02.
On the mid-cap index, copper miner Kazakhmys saw its value balloon on news of the devaluation of Kazakhstan's currency, the tenge. But broker Liberum Capital warned investors that "the last major tenge devaluation in 2009 saw a subsequent sharp inflation spike, totally eroding any initial benefits". Kazakhmys added 31.4p to 208.4p.
Michael Spencer's embattled broker-dealer Icap was given a boost by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which reckons any weakness is now priced in. Icap sailed up 15.5p to 414.5p.Reuse content