Market Report: The defiant Footsie holds on to its gains

Wednesday's stock market surge didn't have enough power to last for two days but the benchmark index still managed to hold on to its gains to the distress of short sellers. Some City speculators thought Wednesday's 2.2 per cent gain might not even last into a second day of trading. But those who put their money where their mouth was have been burnt – the FTSE 100 was up a further 19.97 points to 6,047.34 last night.

After President Barack Obama's deal to avoid the looming fiscal cliff late on New Year's Eve, the top-flight index broke the 6,000 mark but the City is still questioning how long these gains can last.

Angus Campbell, the head of market analysis at Capital Spreads, said: "Thursday's gains have certainly been tentative and there was a degree of caution following the explosive move higher on the first day back. Investors will tread carefully from here when the outlook remains uncertain." Investors still have the eurozone debt crisis to ponder and further talks on spending cuts in the United States are due.

One trader also pointed out that the FTSE 100 has started the year up around 2 per cent every year for the past five.

In the short term, traders will be awaiting today's employment data from the United States in the form of non-farm payrolls and ADP Employment Change updates. But until volumes are back to their usual levels, it might be wise to remain a little sceptical of longer-term gains.

Whether or not the index stays above 6,000 there was certainly plenty of optimism for retail stocks. Reports of the death of the high street seem greatly exaggerated if Next's figures are anything to go by. Fellow retailers on the FTSE 250 index were perked up by Next's strong sales update with department store Debenhams finishing up 2.1p to 117.2p.

Investors who doubted Next have been proved wrong again – the shares were up 2.7 per cent to the top of the tree, up 101p to a high of 3,873p after it reported strong Christmas sales produced from its clever mix of selling through shops, online and its catalogue.

The next week is a big one for retail with three supermarket groups, Debenhams and Dunelm reporting on Christmas trade. The mood has changed and last year's fears of a retail meltdown appear overstated. Analysts think the likes of fashion retailer Ted Baker, down 7p to 1,153p, and catalogue group N Brown, off 4.3p to 367.6p, are worth investing in.

Peel Hunt rates Next, Debenhams, Ted Baker and N Brown as its retail top picks and upped the share price target for Next to 4,000p. It thinks the retailers are set to outperform in the year ahead.

On AIM, fashion follower Standard Life Investments is a dedicated follower of online retailer Asos. It now owns more than 6 per cent of the group and the shares edged up 1p to 2,750p.

Punters keen on small oil and gas businesses specialising in exploring around the Falkland Islands must have nerves of steel.

The Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner reignited the row over the future of the south Atlantic outpost in an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron today accusing Britain of forcibly stripping Argentina of the islands in "a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism".

But AIM-listed Falkland Oil & Gas, which has had problems including its discovery of wells that don't contain commercial levels of oil and gas, saw its shares rise 1p to 29.5p. Rockhopper Exploration, which has made significant discoveries in the area, gained 5.25p to 166.25p, and its partner Premier Oil, reversed just 1p to 354.2p. Desire Petroleum ticked up 0.75p to 20p while Borders & Southern Petroleum gained 0.38p to 20.12p.

Animalcare Group shares trotted up 4p to 137.5p after it said it has found a new manufacturer for its cat and dog painkiller. It had stopped production of the Buprecare single dose ampoules in July 2011 when a supplier closed a production plant.

Leni Gas & Oil, which moved up by 0.1p to 1.16p, said it is issuing High Court proceedings against Mediterranean Oil & Gas to establish the details of a deal it struck with the oil group Genel. MOG, which continues to refute claims that it misled Leni Gas when it bought its stake in a field off Malta just before the Genel deal, was 0.75p adrift at 9.88p.

Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

A Brazilian wandering spider

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

IT Operations Manager - London - £55,000

£50000 - £55000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Relationship M...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past