On a ‘Super Thursday’ for Christmas trading updates, the FTSE 100 maintained its recent momentum to trade higher.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “So far it feels like retailers are doing better than feared – with some notable exceptions. How far you extrapolate this resilience depends on your view of whether households have already faced the worst of the impact of mounting bills and rising interest rates.
“However, with many people still to roll off cheap fixed-term mortgage deals and further increases in the energy price cap to come, there is certainly no room for complacency.
“Later on, US inflation figures are released. These could determine whether the relatively positive sentiment seen so far in 2023 can be maintained, given the influence this data point has on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy.
“Higher energy prices are not bad news for everyone – with Centrica once again upgrading forecasts. How much credit the business itself can take for its revived fortunes is an open question but, for now, financial performance is undoubtedly strong.
“Persimmon shocked no-one by following in its peer Barratt Development’s footsteps and giving a gloomy assessment of the housing market. The big questions which remain are how bad it might get and how long the slump in property prices will last.”