FTSE 250 hits record high in 'Santa rally' as markets close for Christmas

EMBARGOED TO 0001 SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 File photo dated 04/06/16 of the London Stock Exchange. Economic volatility in 2019 has seen the number of profit warnings by UK-listed firms surge to its highest since the financial crisis.
The FTSE 100 had its best year since 2016. Photo: PA

The FTSE 250 reached a new record high on Tuesday, rising in a ‘Santa rally’ as stock market trading came to a close ahead of the Christmas break.

The mid-cap index of leading UK firms (^FTMC) rose 0.6% over the day, outshining other European indices and ending higher for a fourth day in a row.

It looked on track for its biggest annual rise in the value of its component firms for six years, while the FTSE 100 index (^FTSE) looked set for its highest gains since 2016. It ended 0.1% higher.

An easing of short-term uncertainty over Brexit and fears of a Labour government are widely seen to have lifted the value of leading companies since the Conservatives’ election victory on 12 December.

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The FTSE 250 is set to end the year at a new record high. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK
The FTSE 250 is set to end the year at a new record high. Chart: Yahoo Finance UK

US and Chinese announcements of a breakthrough in negotiations to solve a damaging tariff war have also lifted the mood of investors and global business leaders.

Trading finished early at 12.30pm on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange as investors headed home for the Christmas break.

“The Santa rally starts today and if it delivers its typical holiday rally, could produce a 1.3% gain over the next seven trading days,” Edward Moya, a market analyst at Oanda, told PA.

The so-called Santa rally is a well-known trend in trading, with stock market shares often seen rising at the end of December and start of January.

READ MORE: The UK stocks that defined the year in 2019