Despite a rise in the pound, London markets advanced as traders hopefully clung to speculation that the United Kingdom could be close to an agreement with the EU.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said there was still a “good chance” for an agreement to be reached, raising expectations of substantive progress.
In response, both the currency and stock markets were bullish.
At Thursday’s end of trade, the FTSE 100 closed 26.88 points higher at 6,490.27.
The pound jumped 0.93% to 1.349 against the U.S. dollar and was 0.64% higher at 1.110. against the euro.
The pound appeared to rise after Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney reported that “there is a good chance we can get a deal over the line in the next few days,” Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said.
“It’s the kind of comment that you’ve heard a lot in the last few weeks without anything getting done,” he said.
“Nonetheless, with the deadline looming, sterling will take what it can get,” he said.
Interestingly, the FTSE did not fall into negative territory amid the gains of the pound – instead the index rose, topping 6,480 for the first time in six months.
As they remained more cautious, the other big European markets closed in the red.
The German Dax fell 0.45%, while the French Cac was 0.15% lower.
The Dow Jones edged higher across the Atlantic, despite the U.S. daily death toll reaching its highest level since April as traders bet on vaccination gains.
As Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore and BHP Group all made gains, a rally in mining stocks helped lift the FTSE 100 in particular.
In corporate news, retail giant Sainsbury’s rallied to commit to restoring company tax breaks to the government since becoming the latest grocery store.
The company’s shares rose 8.7 pence to 218.6 pence after it pledged to repay tax cuts worth around 440 million pounds, following similar actions on Wednesday by rivals Tesco and Morrisons.
B&M European Value, a retailer also listed on the London Stock Exchange, also said that for the current fiscal year, it would forgo its tax cuts.
Before the company told investors it would give up about 80 million pounds worth of relief at the close of trade Thursday, B&M shares dropped 3.3 pence to 474.7 pence.
In the FTSE 250, after chief executive Eduardo Hochschild sold a 12 percent stake in the gold mining business, securing £ 123 million, shares in Hochschild fell 29.8 pence to 207 pence.
After the online mattress retailer increased its sales projections for the second time in a year, Eve Sleep’s value soared.
After promising “strong” summer revenues and a “Black Friday” the company closed 0.4 pence higher at 4.8 pence and now expects annual sales of at least 24 million pounds.
As Opec debates its next move on demand, oil prices have been subdued and trending in the green.
The price of a Brent crude oil barrel rose by 0.09 percent to $48.47.
Rolls-Royce, up 18.15p to 134.9p, Flutter, up 935p to 14,300p, BT, up 8.1p to 134.45p, and Antofagasta, up 63.5p, were the biggest risers in the FTSE 100.
The biggest losers in the FTSE 100 were Just Eat Takeaway, down 240 pence to 7,790 pence, Unilever, down 116 pence to 4,283 pence, AstraZeneca, down 208 pence to 7,729 pence, and Severn Trent, down 35 pence to 2,357 pence.