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* Retail in focus, British supermarkets lead
* Basic resources extend gains
* Financials suffer as Italian banks weigh
By Helen Reid
LONDON, Jan 10 Britain's FTSE 100 share index
climbed to fresh record highs on Tuesday with UK retailers
gaining, while European blue chips failed to hold early gains,
with financials the biggest drag.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.3
percent, while the FTSE 100 hit a new all-time high of
7,261.16 points before paring back slightly to stand 0.2 percent
France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX were both
down 0.1 percent.
Retail was heavily in focus. Morrisons was a top
gainer in London after Christmas trading results exceeded
expectations. Its shares were up 4.5 percent and had already
traded a full day's average volume within the first 15 minutes.
Britain's largest retailer, Tesco, joined Morrisons
at the top of the table, up 3.5 percent after market research
showed it had the fastest sales growth of the country's four
Meanwhile German discount retailer Metro lost 2
percent after reporting sluggish festive sales.
Basic resources stocks were the top performers,
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 FTSE, down 6.3 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."
Insurance and banking were the worst
performing sectors across indexes, with Commerzbank
the biggest DAX faller, down 2.5 percent on a UBS downgrade to
"sell", and Deutsche Bank tracking it lower, down 2.3
Spain's Banco Popular led the Madrid IBEX
lower, falling 3.1 percent.
Italian banks were back in focus for non-performing loans
after Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca proposed a settlement
with shareholders that could cost more than 600 million euros.
Banco BPM, which had a winning streak in its first
trading week, was down 2.2 percent at the bottom of Italy's FTSE
MIB index, with Unicredit, Ubi Banca
and Intesa Sanpaolo not far behind.
(Editing by Kevin Liffey)