Friday, Dec 22


U.K. stocks leapt to a record close Thursday, with gains for multinationals helping the blue-chips benchmark overcome a sluggish start marked by gloomy updates about British consumer confidence and private consumption. The FTSE 100 index jumped 1% to settle at 7,601.78, surpassing the previous record close of 7,562.28 logged on Nov. 6, according to FactSet data. Commodity-related stocks rose the most. The utilities sector, however, eased. On Wednesday, the benchmark fell 0.3% and snapped a three-session run of wins. The British pound bought $1.3367, down slightly from $1.3375 late Wednesday in New York. A broad-based rally outstripped gains across European stocks and left just a handful of FTSE 100 components in red ahead of Friday‚Äôs holiday-shortened session. London-listed blue-chips seesawed earlier in the session after investors received reports that U.K. consumer confidence dropped to a 4-year low and that U.K car production fell in November. GFK UK said its sentiment survey stood at minus 13, which follows a decrease in November. Separately, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said car manufacturing dropped 4.6% last month.